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Sunday, March 27, 2016


Generally, when I cook for large crowds I always cook too much.   And, when that meal is lasagna it never fails, I always end up with leftover lasagna noodles.   Those noodles stay in the cupboard FOREVER, because why would I throw away perfectly good lasagna noodles?    Sound familiar?   Well, I finally decided to try a recipe for lasagna roll-ups.  It seemed like a great way to enjoy the flavors of lasagna for just the two of us, without all the fuss a great lasagna can take.

I'm so glad that I did.  This was truly a wonderful dish!
I chose a veggie version, and then added browned Italian sausage to my sauce for a little zip.....

This recipe makes 8 roll-ups.


1 ½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper

your favorite spaghetti sauce (I chose a flavor with added mushrooms)
1 lb. browned Italian sausage, cut into bite size pieces (optional)


Brown Italian sausage.  Cool and cut into bite size pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook 8 lasagna noodles approximately 5-6 minutes only.  Just enough to soften the noodles to make them pliable to roll.  They will continue to cook once placed in the oven.   Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the filling ingredients, using only ½ cup of the mozzarella.  

Pour approximately 2/3 cup of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.  Set aside. 

To assemble, lay a lasagna noodle on a flat surface (I used a cookie sheet).  Use ¼ cup of filling for each noodle.  Use the back of a spoon to gently press the mixture into a thin, even layer across the entire noodle.  Gently roll up the noodle from one end to the other.  Be careful not to press too hard.

Place the noodles seam side down, repeat until all the noodles are filled, rolled and in the pan.  Cover each noodle with a fair amount of sauce.  Sprinkle the entire dish with the leftover mozzarella.  

Loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.  Garnish with parmesan cheese.

This was the perfect amount for two meals.  I took the leftover four roll-ups and placed them in a freezer safe container for an easy dinner some time in the future.


adapted from:

Saturday, March 19, 2016


If you enjoy a good apple fritter like I do, then you'll enjoy this bread!  Now, don't expect that crunch outside, since you're not going to fry the bread, but that wonderfully moist, cinnamon and apple flavor is all there.


1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
½ cup milk or almond milk
2 apples, peeled and chopped (any flavor), mixed with 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon

½ cup powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp milk or cream (amount is dependent upon the thickness of the glaze you prefer)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Use a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and spray with non-stick spray.  
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.  In another medium size bowl, beat white sugar and butter together using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time until well blended; add vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk flour and baking powder;add to creamed butter mixture stirring to blend.  Add milk and blend until smooth.   

Pour half the batter into the loaf pan; add half the apple mixture, then half the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Lightly pat the apples into the batter.  Pour the remaining batter over the apple layer, and top with the remaining apples and finally the last of the cinnamon sugar.  Lightly pat apples into the batter; swirl the brown sugar mixture through the apples using a knife. 

Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean; approximately 50-60 minutes. 

Prepare glaze and drizzle over the bread after it has been removed from the pan and cooled for approximately 15 minutes. 


recipe c/o:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


This is another really easy project that adds some unique texture and character to your wall.  You see them everywhere these days....but, I've never really been thrilled with the price.   Having seen how easy they are to make, I decided to tackle them for myself.  After all, you can make them for under $15 for two of them, with leftovers styrofoam balls, skewers and paint to make more!
There are only three supplies you need....and about an hour of your time to knock out a couple of these babies.


1 Pkg. of styrofoam balls
1 can gold metallic spray paint

The first step is to cut off about 1/3 of the ball to create a flat bottom surface.  You can use a serrated knife to accomplish this.  I started at the center of the ball in placing the skewers.   I cut off about 2/3 of the skewers for the center so the "spines" started small and grew longer as they continued out to the perimeter of the ball.  

It was really just a matter of eyeballing it as I continued adding skewers.   Once you like the amount you have, head outside to paint them gold.  I added a couple of coats, front and back.  Letting it dry in between coats.

Finally to attach them to the wall, simply place a nail in the wall and push on the front of the urchin so the nail penetrates the styrofoam ball.  

I know you've also seen table versions of these.....those would also be easy enough to make by leaving the ball whole and adding skewers all the way around the ball.    Have Fun!

Sunday, March 6, 2016


This is a really easy project that provides a lot of punch for your walls!    You literally can have it finished in just a couple of hours.
You can make it as elaborate or simple as you want, all it takes is just a few supplies.....


1 canvas (size is totally up to you)
several silk floral stems (again, the amount is for you to determine)
white spray paint
trusty glue gun
wire cutters

I picked out just six floral stems, timing it with a 50% off sale, of course!  I purposely chose light colored flowers to allow for easy coverage with the white spray paint.  I was also able to get my canvasses on sale, yep...sold in a 2-pack.  So now I have another canvas stashed away for a future project.

The thing that probably took me the longest, was playing with the flowers to find the arrangement that I liked the best.  I wanted a somewhat asymmetrical look, so I left more blank canvas on the right hand side.

I chose to have some of the tips of the flowers extend above the canvas, but didn't want the stems to fall below, so I clipped the bottoms with a pair of wire cutters.

I turned, bent and glued the stems so they would really stand out from the canvas in spots, while other areas are glued flat to the canvas.  

I am totally thrilled with how it turned out, and it looks great in my office.

Have fun!

Thursday, March 3, 2016


This is a huge milestone toward the finish line of our basement finish project.   We're both excited to have this finished.  The final step before "move in" is the baseboard trim.   Once again, this was a first for us.  Previous basements were always carpeted.  It was easy, and the work was left to a contractor once we picked out the actual carpet.

Since the majority of the basement is my Shea Marie Designs work studio and office, I really wanted to avoid carpet since it is so dang hard to find pins in carpet!  I figured I could strategically place some area rugs in places where carpeting would be welcome and leave the main sewing areas without carpet.
I went with a bright white color to keep everything light and airy.  Some added "flecks" of black, silver and grey added some character.

It was quite a process, beginning with the scrubbing of the basement floor to remove the mud/texture that the contractors had left behind. It took a lot of scrubbing!  We also rented a Rug Doctor which was a huge help, but seriously it took three full rounds with the long handled scrubber and the Rug Doctor; allowing it to dry between each round.   It felt like the Bahamas down there at one point!  It was so humid from the water. It was really amazing how clean we were able to get the floor before we began the priming and painting.

Fortunately, we've been having some great weather and were able to open the windows to help ventilate during the priming process!  That stuff was extremely nasty.

After that, the paint went down.  I played the role of "Fairy Godmother" and sprinkled the pixie dust right after the paint went down.  My husband and I were literally working elbow-to-elbow on this step.  Trying to find the right technique was interesting.
This is part of the dialogue:
Husband (who grew up in Indiana):
                      "toss it like you're feeding chickens"
Me (who grew up in the burbs of Chicago)
                       "I've never fed chickens"
I promptly received a complete demonstration on how to properly feed chickens.  Anyway....I actually combined a couple of techniques; chicken feeding and confetti tossing and got really good about mid-way through the process!

The final step is the high lustre gloss.  It too, is extremely potent.  My husband had to leave the area and get some fresh air multiple times during the process.  It took two full coats of lustre to achieve the gloss that we were looking for.

One of the hardest parts was waiting for the prescribed drying time!  Especially, when you're anxious like we are to "move in".   It required a full 72 hours of cure time between the paint and the gloss.   So now, we're in the dry time for the top coat.  You better believe as soon as we've reached the final hour, I'll be perched on the steps ready to go!