Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Decorate with what makes you happy.

Throughout my life, there have been things I have kept, significant things and, to others what might seem, insignificant things. Some of these things I have on display and others tucked away in a box. Looking at these things, I realize, they were kept throughout the years to evoke a memory, make me smile or because they simply had meaning to me, so why are some of these things stored in a box or haphazardly set some place and not proudly displayed?

Two days ago, had you looked at my cookbook stand, you may or may not have noticed what would have seemed like a normal recipe.

Maybe you would have thought it was a recipe I had recently made. Perhaps you would have overlooked it altogether. To you, it may have seemed an insignificant thing. To me, it brings back memories of this feisty lady...

My grandma.

Just before my grandma had passed away, I asked her to teach me to bake '2 Quick Cheesecake', a staple dessert she made for every family gathering. While perched on a kitchen stool, she happily ordered me around her kitchen, directing me through every step of the recipe. The confidence she had in her kitchen, confidence that comes from raising a family of 7, is the confidence I try to muster every day when cooking for my family of 3.

As we baked together, she wrote that recipe down and a few others she loved to make. That night, I took home the '2 Quick Cheesecake' we made together, 3 handwritten recipes she had written out and, of course, a priceless memory.

Throughout the years, I moved and stuck those recipes in a cookbook. I thought about them occasionally and when I would stumble upon them, I would smile. I finally put them on my recipe stand but really wanted to pay tribute to these recipes and the memories they held for me by displaying them in a way that even a casual observer could tell that it was a significant item I had saved.

I found a $1.99 frame from Goodwill that had an ornate design, giving it a vintage feel.

With a can of black gloss spray paint {I wish I had used semi gloss or matte}, I gave my Goodwill frame 2 coats of paint.

I found some black checkered fabric that I wrapped and then taped to the cardboard insert. The fabric covered cardboard then acted as a mat to place my recipe on.

Then, I centered my grandma's recipe on the fabric mat and inserted it into the frame.

Now, it has a place of honor, proudly displayed in my kitchen cabinet. For me, it allowed me to not only frame and display my grandma's recipe but also to frame a special memory as well.

If you have a collection of things you have saved, things that have special meaning to you, take a new look at them and see if you can give life to the memories they contain by displaying them in a significant way.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It tuned into a glass half full kind of a day

I had one of those days yesterday. Sleepless nights were catching up to me and I was paying the price. For example, instead of diluting Grace's juice with water, I diluted it with milk. I actually had to bypass the jug of water to grab the milk. It wasn't until I saw the milk mix with the juice that I realized my error. This should give you a good reference for my state of mind.

By the end of the night I was beyond tired and should have just gone to bed BUT I decided that instead of going to bed, I should try rearranging a few things in my kitchen.

I moved an apothecary jar just enough to send it off the counter and crashing onto the floor. It was one of those moments when time slowed down. I saw with clarity the jar hit the ground and smash into a thousand pieces.

I was devastated. I then noticed, amid the shattered ruins of my apothecary jar, the lid of the jar still intact without any damage at all. My initial impulse was to throw it out along with the broken pieces of the base.

Having engrossed myself in so many wonderful blogs about repurposing this past year, I held off on my urge to simply toss the lid in the garbage. With the lid in hand, I decided to look at my collection of vases. *You know the type of collection I am talking about, the vases that sit under your sink waiting for those few times a year when they are dusted off to showcase a flower arrangement.* That's when I saw a beautiful yet simple vase we got as a wedding present.

Fate intervened and by chance, the top of the apothecary jar fit perfectly *PERFECTLY* into my beloved but barely ever used wedding vase.

The devastation over my shattered apothecary jar was quickly replaced with pure joy. Despite that sleepless nights had impaired my brain functions, I was able to think outside the box and repurpose the lid of my jar and find a reason to dust off a forgotten about wedding gift.

Lesson learned, sometimes it's not worth crying over spilt milk, or broken glass in this case. If I had followed on my initial instinct and thrown the top away, I would have missed a great opportunity.

If you are curious, this all started because I felt the need to redecorate, my impulse, though ill timed, was right, it did look better moved.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I do love to shop

Like most women, I like to shop but it isn't traditional stores that intrigue me. I love wandering around flea markets and thrift stores. I think it brings out the hunter in me. I love scouring through boxes of stuff, unearthing a hidden gem, finding a bargain or revealing in the history of the piece. You never know what you'll find and I think that is part of the appeal.

When I first started going to flea markets, and thrift stores for that matter, it was a little overwhelming. There is so much to look at and I had an uneducated eye. Some tables have nice arrangements and are visually appealing, immediately drawing you in. Other tables may have a junk yard feel to them with have boxes on top of boxes. If you take the time to look around you never know what you'll stumble across.

There are so many wonderful blogs out there that have taught me how to hone in on what could be a 'gem' just by having an open mind, thinking outside of the box and having a little bit of a vision.

You may even be surprised to find something from your own childhood that might bring a smile to your face.

When going to flea markets or thrift stores, go with an open mind. There is no rhyme or reason to what you'll find from visit to visit. You might find something that just needs a good cleaning or maybe needs a fresh coat of paint to take on a completely different look.

The more you go, the more you'll hone in on things that interest you. After watching the Novogratz and their eclectic design style, I am drawn to letters big or small. I love to look through prints of vintage maps or botanical prints. I have recently been drawn to kitchen scales and vintage fans.

This past visit, having gone with an open mind, my purchases surprised even me. I found a botanical print for $1, which I can't wait to hang in my kitchen. I bought a vintage handkerchief. I love giving these as bridal shower gifts, embroidering the bride's new initials and wedding date onto the handkerchief. It can be the something old or even something new. I also stumbled across full skeins of yarn for .50 cents. My favorite find was a set of 1950s children's ice cream chairs for $30.

The chairs needed a good scrubbing and a new coat of white paint on the metal frames. They were just too cute to pass up. I can't wait to set up an ice cream shoppe for Grace.

I hope you feel inspired to head to a thrift store or check out flea markets in your area. You never know what one of kind thing you might find. Happy shopping!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Heart Fake Food - Felt Radish Tutorial

Supplies: Red and Green Felt, Fiberfill, Scissors, Sewing Machine, Red and Green thread for some hand stitching.

Using this pattern, cut the radish out using red felt for the body and green felt for the leaves.

Arrange the first 2 sections of the body, tucking the leaves in the middle. The leaves should be arranged with the thinner piece in the middle and the wider 2 pieces on the outside. Take care in arranging the leaves so that you are only sewing the bottom of the leaves into the body of the radish.

As indicated above, you will want to start sewing just above the bottom or root of the radish and end sewing at the very top of the radish. It should look like this.

Continue sewing the body of the radish together until you have finished sewing all 4 of the sides together. Make sure to adjust the leaves, with each side that you sew, so only the bottom stems of the leaves are sewn into the radish.

For each side, continue to start sewing from just above the root.

And end sewing at the top of the radish.

Turn your radish right side out by gently pulling your leaves through the un-sewn root bottom.

It's starting to look like a radish, a deflated radish but a radish nonetheless.

Begin to stuff your radish with fiberfill.

With needle and red thread, begin to sew the root of your radish closed.

After one side has been sewn, this is what it will start to look like.

Tuck one of the roots into the body of the radish. Leaving the 2 roots you just sewed together and one additional root.

Finish sewing the other 2 sides together. By tucking in a root section, leaving only 3 of the root sections out, your root will twist and begin to look more organic and interesting.

Your radish could be considered done BUT I like to add just one more step by giving a little structure to my sad wilted leaves.

See the difference?

Pinch and twist your leaves together.

Using green thread (and needle), about a 1/4 of an inch up from where your stem connects to the radish, start to stitch the leaves together tightly.

Adding one additional step and a couple more minutes of time, your radish now looks ripe for the picking.

Ready for my I heart fake food pun conclusion. Prepare yourself, it's pretty bad. Aren't these rad-ish? I know, terrible. How about you can't beet how cute these radishes are?

If you enjoyed this felt radish tutorial, make sure you continue to follow my 'I heart fake food' tutorials.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Made In Indiana

Are you curious what I did with this...

I turned it into a custom onesie.

And here's how.

You'll need the following supplies: A blank outline of your state of choice to use as a pattern, I found mine here. Ultra hold Heat N Bond to attach the state without having to sew. A Faded Glory Onesie from $2 from Walmart. *The embroidered 'Made In State of your choice' on matching material. An iron, pair of scissors and a pencil.

*If you don't have an embroidery machine at your disposal, there are still options. You could hand embroider 'Made in'. Or you could simply embroider a small heart in the spot on the state where the baby was born. If embroidering is not an option for you at all, there is still hope, just find material you like for the state and cut it out without any embellishments.

Using the state pattern, trace the mirrored image out onto Heat N Bond paper. Cut the image out from the Heat N Bond leaving a generous border.

Using an iron, preheated to wool setting, iron the Heat N Bond onto the back of the embroidered material.

When the Heat N Bond has cooled, cut along the outline of the state you traced, removing all excess Heat N Bond and material.

Peel off the paper backing from your Heat N Bond.

With the state, right side up, determine where you want to attach it. When you find the perfect spot, using your iron still heated to wool setting, iron your state onto the onesie.

Allow your transfer to cool completely and then admire your finished product.

Three customized and personalized onesies completed for under $10.

The only thing left to do, send them off to this adorable baby.

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