Archive | October, 2010

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

I did it! Finished just in time! I even had to make a run to Micheal’s for some tulle.

I completed the hood and attached the last foot this morning. It came together very well and it was well worth it. I can say that it was no easy task to complete and there were bumps in the road. The costume is a little large.. but she loves it so much that she’ll be able to grow into it and wear it over and over.

While I didn’t make my son’s costume, he still looks very adorable in his store bought Frankenstein costume!

Everyone have a safe and fun Halloween!

A Place to Lay Your Head

30 Oct

As we continue to put our stamp on our first home, we made our way to the bedroom.  When we first moved in together, I was going through a country, shabby-chic phase and our headboard really reflected that.  It was actually a piece of a picket fence cut down to size to fit our bed.  As we move forward in our lives, I am trying to go more modern.  Our bedroom is terribly small so the headboard is an easy way to have a HUGE impact in the room.  So that is where we decided to begin incorporating the modern elements that we were previously missing.

Now I regularly record and watch about three shows on HGTV, so I know (or at least I think I know) a thing or two about projects such as this.  I have seen Kristan Cunningham and Kahi Lee make upholstered headboards about a thousand times.  It looked easy enough.  While I recognize that the magic of TV is often time deceptive, in this instance, it really was as easy as it appears on TV.

I purchased a $7 piece of plywood from my local Home Depot.  I attached two inch foam with some spray adhesive.  Then I rolled out my batting (I purchased two yards), laid the plywood on top, foam side down.  Pulling tightly I then stapled the batting to the back side of my headboard.  Then with my chosen two yards of fabric lying good-side down (I chose a dark gray suede), I placed the plywood on top and repeated the same process to attach it to the headboard.  And at that point you are pretty much done!

I purchased two packages of french cleats from Home Depot as well to attach the headboard to the wall.  And ladies, when you ask for french cleats and the men at Home Depot look at you like you are crazy, you just say, “yes, they are called french cleats!”

Having the headboard attached to the wall really helped in adding about five inches of space to our room as well since the bed and its frame could be placed all the way against the wall.  Five inches make a pretty big difference in a room as small as ours!

I also picked out a couple of sconces from Home Depot (who knew they had stylish lighting solutions).  My wonderful husband did all the measuring and mathematics involved in hanging the headboard and the sconces.  With the addition of my new West Elm duvet cover, we had a brand new room!

We went from country and cramped to cool and modern in one weekday evening!

I think my favorite part of this transformation is that I was so proud of myself that I shared pictures with my friends and family immediately.  My dear friend Sage was so inspired by our project that she and her husband, Jason, ran out and made their own headboard!  They got crazy and added tufting and it turned out amazing!  In Sage’s words, Oooh, that looks rich!

So the question is…who’s next?!

Hello Again Old Friend!

29 Oct


While this sweet snack has been around since 1949, I had to go all the way to Paris, France to discover it.  My first taste of Nutella was as it slowly melted inside a warm crepe as I walked through the Jardin du Luxembourg in the Latin Quarter.

As the cooler months approach (yes, it gets cool in Southern California for a couple of months a year) the warmth of the hazelnut flavor found in Nutella makes it the greatest October afternoon snack. Since discovering the wonderful world of Nutella I’ve had it for breakfast on toast, at the farmer’s market in a crepe and on the go in a Parisian park.  But recently I’ve discovered new ways to enjoy this flavorful spread.

  1. Salty Peanutty Nutella:  Snacks have become an obsession in my office and a regular in the kitchenette is a tub of peanut butter filled pretzels.  After bringing a jar of Nutella in for my toast, my co-workers and I discovered that dipping the peanut butter filled pretzels into the Nutella brought both to another snacking level!
  2. Easy Nutella Brunch:  Another favorite that I found in Paris was pain au chocolat.  I typically stopped off at the corner bakery for one every morning (thank goodness I had the opportunity to walk everywhere and burn off those calories!).  To make your own quick and easy pain au chocolat all you need is a can of refrigerated crescent rolls.  Before you roll them, drop a dollop of Nutella in the middle.  Brush some egg wash on top and bake.  You’ll have to fight your brunch guests for the last one!
  3. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Nutella:  I recently dressed up some pumpkin muffins by spreading Nutella on top like frosting.  I don’t think you can really call them “muffins” at that point, but who cares what you call them!  They are amazing!
  4. A Spoon Full of Sugar:  Um…you can always go with a classic.  Just dip a large spoon into the jar and enjoy!

Rainy Day Fun…

28 Oct

Recently, we’ve had lots of rain and while it is much needed, it’s no fun for the kids. So over the rainy weekend I decided to give my daughter some thing fun to do indoors. I bought the Halloween Pillsbury sugar cookies with the pumpkins on them. She put the cookies on the sheet pan and watched them brown in the oven. While they were baking, we made frosting from scratch. We added some food coloring to make it a festive orange. We spread it on the cookies and made them into sandwiches. I had my daughter roll the frosting edges over some sprinkles. It was semi-homemade and fun for her to do.

The other great thing about this activity… the oven warms the house and the cookies smell sooooo gooood!

What are your favorite rainy day activities?

Cranberry Bliss

27 Oct

For a recent dinner party with friends, I decided to whip up some cranberry bars. I didn’t really have a game plan, nor did I have very much time. They were supposed to be Cranberry-Macadamia Bars, but in a frantic rush around the grocery store, I couldn’t find any macadamia nuts! It was substitution time!

I decided to use hazelnuts instead of macadamia nuts. I also substituted fresh cranberries for dried ones that I had on hand- unsweetened, I like them less sweet and more tart. I can’t wait until the stores start having fresh cranberries on hand… they are the best!

The bars came out so good for being a last minute, mad-dash dessert. They reminded me of my favorite Cranberry Bliss bars at Starbucks! mmmm… I will be making this again using the macadamia nuts and fresh cranberries so look for that update soon!

My dino-dilemma

26 Oct


It was a Sunday morning, while reading the paper, that my daughter told me she wanted to be a dinosaur. All the dinosaur costumes looked so boyish. I decided to make her one that was more girly. Zoey picked out the fabric colors herself and I found a great mesh glitter fabric to match! I am almost done with only the hood, one foot and the gloves to finish. I was on a roll tonight and was sorely disappointed when I broke my needle mid-dino foot! Ugh! Well…this is where I’m at right now.. I’ll post the finished look, fingers crossed, by Sunday. Wish me luck!

vintage is so always

24 Oct

oh lovely, sweet autumn days and oh wonderful, bountiful farmer market wares in the village of claremont! i just met the crafter-extraordinaire, alexis, and her sister, the business manager, amanda of bobby soxie and had to buy these hair accessories. i wanted to buy so much more but today was not about me (my bff’s birthday is today and had to sprinkle some culinary love on her!).

alexis’ scarves, headbands, and tie-bows (to name a few) all can be found at her store on etsy and at select farmer’s markets in claremont and pomona, california. you can also check out their blog by clicking on this: bobby soxie

what i really love is the tie-bow clip! i don’t know its official name but i am calling it a tie-bow clip because it is basically a tie fashioned into a bow with two clips on the backside! AND she makes matchies for your little girl!

another reason i heart so much: it feels so vintage and like i am adding an extra oompf! that is simple but sweet enough!

 

p.s. i was so excited and inspired i took these photos with my blackberry (except the first photo, which is from bobby soxie’s blogspot). when i get home i will update with a better representation!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

22 Oct

 

This weekend is the annual Fall Festival at my son’s school.  They ask that the parents help in whatever capacity they are able.  Can you guess what I volunteered for?

I’ve been making pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting for Thanksgiving for years.  When trying to choose which baked goods in my arsenal I would donate to the Fall Festival, whoopie pies were an obvious choice.  I think they are great for functions like this where people may not be able to sit down while they eat. 

As I dropped them off this morning the mothers in charge of the “Sugar Shack” at the fair noted how fragrant they were.  I suspect that if the house is still filled that warm yummy pumpkin aroma by the time I get home tonight I might just have to bake another batch to keep!

For this batch I used the pumpkin whoopie pie recipe from my new go-to baking bible “Whoopie Pies” by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell.  For the frosting filling I used cream cheese frosting from the grocery store.  Hey, don’t judge me!  Mostly homemade is the best I can do with two kids and a full-time job!

We are headed to the Fall Festival tonight.  I am eager to see how they sell.  I hope they go for at least two tickets each!  I think they’re worth it!!

Carve a Stamp, Save a Tree

20 Oct

I fell in LOVE. 

And then I fell in LOVE again…with Faux Bois.

While redecorating our living room I knew that I wanted to pepper our walls with a collage of frames.  I did have several family photos in mind and a few pieces of art pulled from other rooms.  And then there was one empty frame.  Enter the faux bois.

I love the idea of stamping and creating my own stamp to be used again and again, maybe for my own home or to be gifted to others.  I love efficiency!  So I purchased a rubber block from my local Michaels.  I copied a wood grain pattern onto the rubber block and then outlined a heart in the middle.  I then VERY CAREFULLY carved out the wood grain pattern and the heart.

For this project I specifically used paint intended for use with rubber block stamps.  In the past I have used regular ink pads with stamps carved into rubber block; however, to create the clean modern look I wanted, I needed the even coverage that only a trayer and paint can provide. 

I used a simple piece of 11 x 14 sketch paper framed by white matting and a beautiful frame.  I am so pleased with the result!

Peanut Butter Cup Whoopie Pies

6 Oct

 

I love to bake.  It’s no secret.  My husband, however, is not a huge fan of sweets.  And while I am more than happy to eat his share of the baked goods in the house, I thought I would offer up something a little salty as well as sweet.  One of the few treats that he does love is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  They are great on ice cream or inhaled on their own. 

These Whoopie Pies were inspired by the yummy peanut butter cup candies.  The cake part of the Whoopie Pie (is it a cake or a cookie?) is chocolate.  I topped one cake with peanut butter filling and one with a chocolate ganache. 

Because these Whoopie Pies are reminiscent of a classic candy, they are perfectly sweet comfort food for the cooler days ahead!  Enjoy!

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