Friday, September 30, 2011

Scrapbook from Scrap Part III

My roadtrip scrapbook has become quite the drawn out project. Slowly, but surely I will get there and finish this thing. So far I've ordered photos from the trip to put into the book & organized them by day. 
Next I just have to actually glue them in place. 
I'm so happy I wrote a little blurb for each day. How quickly I forget all those details and day-to-day funnies. I also divied up maps, menus & tickets from our various ventures. I'm hoping to incorporate pieces of these with the photos as well. I'm a little embarrassed at how much of a slacker I've been. 
I Never Finish Anyth Black and White Pillow
But this made me feel better. 
Apparently I'm not the only one who gets side tracked.
(found it here!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fashionably Cheap for Fall

I never tire of ruffles. I paired two clearance finds together to really emphasize that--just in case anyone was in doubt of my girly girl style. With the weather beginning to cool down, it's time to layer and layer flatteringly with feminine touches (A.K.A. ruffles in this case).

Blue tank $7.49 (Old Navy)
White ruffled cardi $4.50 (Charlotte Russe)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tomato Salad

Had a plethora of tomatoes given to me (again!) and this time I decided to make a salad with them, although I was seriously tempted to bake them all like last time. Those were so darn good. But it was a hot day, so I chopped & stirred and got this:
Feta Cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette
(all quantities were eye-balled)

My husband wasn't too thrilled at the first sight of it. "Where's the lettuce???" But he tried it and I'm happy to say he liked it!  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Building Cupcake Confidence

You should already be aware of this, but I just can't resist an almost like stealin' deal. Had a little too much fun at Michaels last week (I will justify it by informing you that I used giftcards and several coupons!!!). Seriously though, I spent a looong time comparing items & getting the best of the best. Cody called me mid-way through to make sure I was still alive, I was there that long.  I turned into a 5 year old at the toy store. I thought for sure Dr. Phil was going to pop up and counsel me for getting so hyped up in there. 
But he didn't. Thankfully. It was quite the shopping trip.

Paula Deen cupcake liners-50 per pack ($0.30 each!)
Cupcake punch for $5.60 (30% off regular price)
In keeping with the cupcake theme, A SPLURGE! I had a 50% off any regular priced item coupon..trouble was it seemed like the entire store was 30% off already, so I made my rounds and finally settled on this glorious set of Wilton decorating tips. The best part? It's normally priced $50--and I got it for $25 with my coupon! Yippeee!! It also included a plastic organizing case (normally $8). Seeee???
Yay for organization! And now it's time to get to work on my cupcake skills..Here's a slightly off-colored pic of my most recent practice session with my mother-in-law.
Slowly, but surely, I will get there. For now, they consistently taste good, which to be honest is sliiightly more important, right???

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Found Treasure

Took a walk down the railroad tracks recently and I found some fun track & train pieces to do *something* with. A nut, a "J" hook piece (can't make up our minds on what it was used for), a railroad nail & a bolt.
 There were actually tons of nails along the tracks so I switched mine out a few times for the least rusty possible. I wasn't sure how rusted through the other pieces were, but the hubs said he would give them a polish on the wire wheel and then we could cover up remaining rust with some spray paint. Buuut they turned out pretty cool with polishing alone!
They're shiny too, which is always a win for me. I considered rounding off the end of the nail because it could be one heck of a weapon, but even with a rounded edge it'd be enough to knock somebody out so, for now, I left it as is. The "J hook" went to my brother, Joey--naturally. And I'm not sure what I want to do with the nail, bolt & nut. The nut could be a fun paperweight. And I'm really unsure about painting them too. I was thinking of doing something realistic like black or silver paint, but what would hot pink look like? So they will remain in their natural, polished state while I make up my mind...

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Woman Cave

There's a new show on HGTV called Mom Caves. Before I complain for not being selected (A. I am not a mom and B. We don't have a home to remodel all cool like that), I think it's a fantastic idea to carve out a little personal space wherever you live for quiet time, crafts, pampering, etc. It seems, for the most part, that it's rare to have a spare room or rooms that you can transform into a walk-in closet + spa-like master bath or sewing room or what have you. Luckily, there are loads of awesome ideas to guide you in transforming a closet with a murphy-bed esque fold out desk and so forth.
(found here)
But we are taking this dream session a bit further.
(found here)
Ok so a pink trailer may not be your cup of tea. But run with me on this, a small, separate structure of some sort would make for a very exciting woman/mom cave. It would certainly be easier than booting a kid out of their bedroom or adding on a real room to your home. Plus, most of us have some sort of side yard space or an awkward corner of the backyard that is just asking for a beautified Tuff Shed!
This is the one I want. 
my ome ideas garden shed
(found here)
With a little work (and a lot of help from the hubs) it could be anything you want it to be. Wire it up to have electricity, add carpet, a couch, a built in desk & shelving and voila! This will most certainly be on my Christmas list this year--in BIG, BOLD letters--and will probably remain that way for several years to come. But at least I know what I want right? Pretty sure that's helpful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Black Bean Soup

Leaves are changing colors, nights are starting sooner and that puts me in the mood for soup! This is another quick & easy healthy dinner disguised as comfort food. I originally found this recipe in the Trader Joe's cookbook (pssst--there's some awesome recipes in there that I let others think I'm a kitchen genius for, apricot brie anyone? it's worth flipping through the book or maybe even buying it! Just realized there's a bunch of TJ books, thank you Amazon!) Back on track here, here's a guide to Black Bean Soup. Just keep in mind that I don't follow directions and I cook with a 'little bit of this and a little bit of that' game plan, so if you want exact measurements you gotta buy the book! :)

You will need:
Juice of 1 lime 
Chunky salsa, about 8 oz (pico de gallo is best)
1 tablespoon (?) cumin--or maybe a tad more ;)
Chopped medium white onion (although purple or yellow works just fine too)
Crushed garlic to taste (which means a big heap for me)
3 cans black beans (undrained, or add a bit of water to soup later for low-sodium needs)
Drizzle some cooking oil (Grapeseed is my fave) and brown those onions up till they're translucent. Add garlic & cumin while you're browning the onion to really get those flavors immersed. When the onion looks nice and tender, turn down heat to low and add the lime juice and salsa. 
Then pour the 3 cans of black beans (undrained!) and stir them into the onion/salsa mixture. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes or longer--this is a good make ahead meal too. This recipe will serve about 4 hungry men, so it gives us plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. I do have to share that the first time I made this, I cooked up chicken sausage on the side because my husband would have been mortified to be served a meal, let alone dinner, without meat. And I'm happy to say that he had no room in his stomach for the sausage! That's right, Cody ate (& enjoyed and even requests) this VEGETARIAN meal! 
Serve with warm tortillas and a dollop of Daisy your favorite sour cream. Anyone else singing the dollop of Daisy jingle right now? I have found that Fage Greek Yogurt is an awesome sour cream substitute for all occasions. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Budget Friendly Art

Lately, it seems, I'm being stalked by budget friendly wall art opportunities. I'm deeply in love with artwork collaged on a specific wall or hallway in any given home. The beauty of grouped artwork is that smaller pieces become one large focal point & statement. And they can be absolutely anything you want it to be: multi-colored or monochromatic, linear, abstract or shaped (outline of heart), a mixture of photos, mementos and traditional art pieces...
Scrapbook Paper (found here)
Cute fabric scraps on canvas
Fabric scraps (found here)
Scrapbook Paper + Cupcake Punch (would be super cute with butterflies too!)
(found here)
love the little titles
Family baby photos (found here)
painted shoebox lids - cheaper than canvas
Painted shoe box lids!! (found here)
initials framed with scrapbook paper! cute idea!
Monograms with scrapbook paper background.
(found here)
frame pressed botanicals
Pressed flowers (found here)
frame mismatched family heirloom plates
Framed heirloom plates, perfect when there's only a few left!
(found here)
 I want to do this for all my favorite places or all the places we've traveled....what a great idea.
To remember where you've traveled or lived. (found here)
love this
Just plain cool! (found here)
Love the yellow
Mix leaning & hanging photos (found here)
crayons through a hot glue gun...
Crayons + Hot Glue Gun (found here)
what a great idea!
Decoupaged Monogram (found here)
made from washers. so clever and unique!
Monogram w/ washers! (found here)
they look like wonderful plates...
Embroidery hoops! (found here)

A little bit of everything has flow with all white frames & matting (found here)

More framed scrapbook paper (found here)

You may have noticed in these photos that anything can be turned into artwork.

*A greeting card in a large frame with matting (really digging the cards at Trader Joe's lately)
*scrapbook paper or fabric (get fat quarters for a ready-to-go square shape on the cheap!)
*shadow boxes (would love to frame my husbands football jersey!)
*fun advertisements (Coca-cola anyone??)
*children's art work
*maps of significant places for your family
*numbers or dates sentimental to your family (just scored some metal plaques with mine & Cody's birth years on them from Cody's dad!)
*wrapping paper/wall paper samples
*record sleeves (like this one I found at the Goodwill!)
* t-shirts or baby clothing
*calendar prints--this is a great way to collage within a theme, I've got several Coca-cola calendars (but of course!) and I recently picked up a calendar with vintage style floral drawings (courtesy of Border's closing). You can really score big if you shop for calendars of the previous year or mid-way through the current year.
*old & new family photos
*BIG monograms
*family recipes (I have a stack of my grandmother's handwritten recipes for her glorious creation,s such as Red Velvet Cake, that I would love to hang in a dining room or kitchen down the road...)

Whatever you love can be transformed to be on your wall and not clutter on shelves. Thanks for hangin in there on this loooong-winded post! If for some reason you're like me and just can't ever seem to get enough inspo, go to my Pinterest page and get a peek inside my brain to see what else is cookin' (it's pretty much the whole supermarket...)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fashionably Cheap

I am having so much fun with my gift cards I found when I cleaned out my purse! This dress (dubbed the "Laura Ingall's" dress by my mother) deducted my Ross gift card down $10. And yes, I will admit, it is on the Laura Ingall's side of the planet, but I grew up a very big fan of her so it doesn't bother me much  :) The dress goes really well with my new wedges I shared with ya'll last week.  Paired with my cowboy boots, it'll carry me into fall too! And if I get bored/adventurous with it I could either shorten it up to be just above the knee or add some fun fabric to give it a little extra length to make it go perfectly with my new wedges...decisions, decisions...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Foolproof DIY Fabric

In my fabric collecting (the first step in gaining confidence to use my sewing machine) I have stumbled upon a really fun website ( where you can design your own fabric! You can use paint, or photo-shop if you have those skills/coordination, photos or scan in artwork/doodles. You can order your creation in a variety of sizes and fabric weights. Since I am not particularly artistic, I'm somewhat limited to photos and water-coloring. Water-coloring is one of those rare art techniques where you don't have to have crazy skills to make a decent piece. See what I mean?

(found here)

(found here)

This is water coloring with crayons! The how-to is linked through my Pinterest page.

Love this! (also on Pinterest)

Wouldn't these make for some fun fabric for pillows, bedding, small upholstering jobs...

Now for photos printed on fabric, I'm imagining memory quilts of either events, vacations, good old family photos or even to preserve your children's artwork. Or what about making a fabric baby book with pictures of fruits, vegetables, animals, etc? For these projects I would order in the fat quarter size for easy(ier) quilt/book assembly.

(found here)

(found here)

(found here)

(found here)

Well, that's it for dreamland. Must be nice to be able to do/have time for fun things like this. Maybe someday...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Clearance Couture--Shoe Edition

Got these sugar babies for $7.48 from--you guessed it! Target! I've seriously been wearing them like everyday. No joke. And best of all, they're holding up! I mean it's not like I'm playing football in them or anything, so hopefully they last a while! They've been the perfect addition to delicate sundresses, jeans and even shorts! And wedges are always much more friendly to my feet. So it's a win-win-win. Take the opportunity to shop all of the end of summer sales going on right now. The stores gotta make room for winter clothes, so take advantage!

Monday, September 5, 2011

DIY Sun Dried (aka Baked) Tomatoes

If you're anything like me, or any other human being, your tomatoes often go bad before you've gotten the chance to use them. I've learned and begun to keep them on the counter at room temperature and this helps to prolong their life. But even this isn't always foolproof. But never fear, Martha Stewart inspired me to try and save the day soft tomatoes! Here is my version of Baked Tomatoes (it wasn't a full on recipe in the September magazine, more like one of those reader comment things, so I don't have a link for ya).

Slice tomatoes as thin as possible, which won't be all that thin since soft tomatoes and particularly sketchy to slice thin.
Sprinkle with crushed red pepper (optional, but not really).
Bake at 250' for just about 2 hours. 
They scrunch up quite a bit during the baking/drying process, so you may want to do two batches simultaneously. 
Let them cool a bit before removing from your cookie sheet. Best if used day-of or within 3 or so days of baking. I stored one batch in the fridge for 2 days and they still tasted fab. I added mine to home-made pizza (which I didn't get a picture of before everyone dug in and demolished the pretty pizza). But they would also be a great addition to any salad or pasta dish.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Clearance Couture

The past couple of weeks have been full-to-the-brim with shopping excursions. And the best part? It's cost me approximately $0! Since cleaning out my purse a while back, I found loads of gift cards! It's been great fun, as I'm sure you can imagine. And even though it hasn't been "my" money I'm spending, I kept a tight, white knuckled grip on my need for smokin' deals! I snagged this dress at Macy's for $4.99! 

The gray cardigan is from Papaya (kind of like a Forever 21) that I've had for a long time so I can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but it's safe to say it was under $20. Bargain hunting is more than just good luck (although that never hurts!) Success is found when you dare to try something a little different. When I picked this dress up, I wasn't all that thrilled but I tried it on anyway and it fit wonderfully. Don't judge a dress by how it hangs on a hanger. Happy Hunting!