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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

WATERCOLOR PLANTERS

This is such a quick and fun project, I encourage anyone to give it a try!  I first played with this technique back in 2015 when I took a few white ceramic coffee mugs and transformed them into something truly unique.  

When I recently purchased a couple of ceramic planters for wall decor in my studio, I knew at that time that I was going to have some fun with them!
It takes just a few items and a little time to turn something ho-hum into wow!  

You'll need a container for the "bath"; it's going to get ruined so I'd look for something at the Dollar store.  This simple plastic tub did the trick just fine. 

Next, find whatever color or colors of nail polish you want .... again, I went with Dollar store polish versus the expensive stuff you find in big box stores.  I found two varieties of pink polish, and the third one is a glitter variety.

The technique is similar to egg dyeing.  You dribble the nail polish colors into some water and dunk the item into the bath...let it dry (which is really fast) and you're done!

Every item will be it's own unique masterpiece, similar to Easter eggs; you'll never have two patterns exactly alike. 

I found the planters at Hobby Lobby (I hit the ceramic sale!) I visualized succulents in them and found some really lifelike varieties that I placed in there along with some moss.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

LAUNDRY ROOM MAKEOVER

We've officially been in our new house for a little over two years now...and many of you know firsthand how extensive the list of projects can be when you're trying to make your house a home.   So, we prioritized the projects and have been tackling one big one each year (and lots of little things ever since we moved in).  The first year was finishing the basement; that was actually beyond big, it was monumental.  The second year was hardwood flooring (we called in the pros for that one).  This year, we started with a laundry room makeover.
    
BEFORE
The original design of the laundry room included a shelf over the washer/dryer.  I used those fabric cubes for storing some goodies; I had a total of four of them in a tan color equally spaced across the shelf....then, do you see that old microwave cart underneath the countertop? that was the "catch all" for detergent, dryer sheets, etc.  You can also see we're Costco folk, especially when it comes to TP, paper towel and kleenex.  So the industrial size versions of each of those were tucked under the counter top as well.  It literally drove me nuts (I'm really swallowing my pride here by showing you all this...you'd never know from this picture that I'm a very organized person).
                                  AFTER                                     
I'm so excited.....look under the countertop.  Nothing! All that stuff is now either in the brand new cabinets, or underneath the other side of the countertop where they're out of sight.  In case you're wondering about the positioning of the hamper.....I have it there because one of the coolest features of the laundry room is the "pass through" window from our master bedroom.  You can actually pitch your dirty clothes into the hamper when standing in the master bedroom closet!  We love that feature!  
I found those beautiful hickory cabinets at Lowe's (online).   We bought two; they each measure 30x24.  My husband also added a metal pole from the end of the cabinet to the wall.  I used to have to hang "to be ironed" items right from the shelf.                                                             
                                                                                                                        I love how it looks (as much as anyone can love a laundry room, right?).  I really can only take credit for finding the cabinets,  cabinet knobs and the final clean up ....my husband did all the heavy lifting on this project.  

Sunday, February 4, 2018

INFANT DRESS AND HAIRBOW

I have to say, I love the variety of projects that I get to work on....from sewing, to crafts, to cooking, to upholstery....well, you get the idea.  It feeds my creative soul!

This project was a treat since I don't do them very often.  An dress for an infant...whoop, whoop.  So fun!  A close friend of the family (and bestie to my daughter) asked if I would make a dress for her daughter, Maddie.  I had made some hairbows when Maddie was firstborn and Mama, Kim wanted me to make a dress to match.  As it turned out, I had bought enough gold polka dot knit to make her a matching dress. 
Look at this little cutie patootie!  This is Maddie's 8 month picture.  Kim is having professional photos done each month through her first year of life (she did the same thing with her son as well).  It's so fun, to watch them grow and change!

I decided I wanted to spice up the dress a bit, so I scoured the etsy shops trying to find a pre-made lace collar.....I ordered one (with fingers crossed) hoping the size was going to work as I had planned.  I'm happy to say, this one worked just perfectly.  It's a cotton lace which is a great match to the cotton knit fabric.

I also had some fun flower appliques from a 3D fabric that I used for a bridal cape and stole three of them for the final touch. They matched perfectly and almost look as if the collar was made that way. 

I forgot how quickly infant wear comes together.  The seams are so small!  In case you're wondering, there are four buttons at the center back of the bodice which allows Maddie to get in and out of the dress. 

Don't you love these pictures!!  The one on the right is absolutely adorable.  I understand Maddie is quite the wiggle worm right now, so the pictures Kim posted on facebook are comical since she's moving in just about every one of them! 
Maddie's photos by:  KB Digital Designs

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

PASTA, SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

Because I had a red and green bell pepper leftover from our fajita dinner, I chose to look up some recipes that would allow me to use the peppers before they spoiled.  I landed on this pasta recipe which was really tasty!  It takes your everyday pasta to a different level without too much extra effort.
This is a two pan recipe which can be on your table in just under an hour!

INGREDIENTS:

1 jar of your favorite red spaghetti sauce
1 lb. bulk italian sausage
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
4 oz. cream cheese (cut into small cubes)
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 tsp. fennel
3 cups penne, mostaciolli, or your favorite pasta

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the peppers into narrow strips.  Brown italian sausage, in a large skillet over medium heat.  Drain the sausage on a paper towel. Use the remaining fat to saute' the peppers.  When fork tender, add in the sausage, the sauce, fennel, and the cream cheese.  Blend by stirring over a medium low heat.  Cover and simmer while you cook the pasta. 

Add the cooked pasta right into the sauce mixture, sprinkle and stir in the parmesan.   

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.allrecipes.com

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

CRANBERRY ORANGE BISCOTTI

Having a half bag of frozen cranberries in my freezer, I set out to find a recipe that called for fresh cranberries.  I landed on a biscotti recipe that fit the bill.    The recipe also suggests that you can use dried cranberries, which would probably be a bit sweeter.  If you're looking for a little tart with your sweet, go with the frozen variety.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup room temp butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. orange extract
¼ tsp. almond extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder 
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
6-8 oz. of fresh or dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy.  Beat in eggs, orange zest, orange extract, and almond extract.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl; mix dry ingredients into moist ingredients to make a stiff dough.  Mix cranberries into dough.  Form dough into a ball, cut into halves, and shape each half into a log.  Place logs onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the oven until the edges are lightly browned; 20-25 minutes.  Let logs cool completely on wire racks.  Cut logs into slices and lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake biscotti until crisp and lightly golden brown, about  *10-12 minutes.

*baking time may need to be longer when using fresh cranberries due to the added moisture they provide to the dough.

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  allrecipes.com

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

TWO TIER CATHEDRAL VEIL

This past summer I had the pleasure of making a cathedral length veil for a Texas bride.  Sarah wanted a simple cathedral length veil; meaning no embellishments....but she also wanted it a double layer.  Now, I have to tell you, I hadn't heard of this before.  I thought she may have meant a two tier (meaning with a blusher), but she meant two full layers of illusion the full length of the veil.
Take a look at how full the veil looks with two full layers of illusion.  So beautiful! 

I also used an extra wide comb, which looks really pretty ... creating a statement from the top of the comb to the very tip of the veil!  So elegant!

Sarah did a great job choosing a veil that was a perfect match for her contemporary gown.  Simple and understated, yet look how well it complemented her dress and...... what about that bouquet?! 

Thank you Sarah for allowing me to be a part of your special day and for introducing me to the double layer veil, it's a beauty! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

LITTLE BLACK DRESS

It was sometime in late November or early December when my daughter approached me about making her a dress for New Year's Eve.    She wanted a short off the shoulder dress, and it just so happened that I had some beautiful black lace that would be perfect.  I found a black suiting fabric for the dress itself on a trip to JoAnn fabrics.  I chose one with a two way stretch since we discussed the fact that she wanted it to be form fitting.
So here she is rockin' her little black dress on NYE 2017!

I began the project with a classic strapless dress with princess seaming in both the front and the back so I could d really fit the dress to her shape.                                                      
After that, I draped the lace on top of the dress to create the lace overlay.  As I was creating it,  I knew the scallop would at the top of the bodice (the off-the-shoulder piece), but I also wanted to take advantage of the lace motif, by cutting around the pattern highlighting the leaves and florals where the bodice ended right at the hipline.  

I put in an invisible zipper up to the top of the underlayer and then strategically placed four sweet buttons at the very top in the lace.

I apologize for all the differences in the lighting in these pictures, but some of them were obviously taken on NYE, while others were taken at different points in the project in my studio.

I love how it turned out....and better still, my daughter loved how it turned out.  Best part for me....since she was pleased with the final fit, I now have a"block" pattern that I can work from to make her all sorts of different dresses in the future without starting from scratch each time!