Thursday, April 28, 2011

Upcycling and Road Tripping

Good afternoon all!
The weather has been horrid the last couple of days.
Tornados have been ravaging Alabama, and we have felt the backlash all the way in East Tennessee.
We haven't suffered any personal damage, but some of our friends have.
Today has been a perfect Spring day, though; so I am hopeful that the storms have passed (literally).

We are going on a little vacation this weekend!
Jay's band is playing a couple of shows in Gatlinburg which is only about an hour or so away, but it is one of the prime vacation spots in this area ... and we are getting a cabin.. I am so excited!
We very rarely get away, so this will be a nice treat for both of us.

I don't have any crochet to show today. I have been slowly working on a big project, and I will do a sneak peek soon!

What I have instead is an upcycle project I completed today.
A while ago, a friend of mine gave me this jewelry box:

Pretty, huh?
Unfortunately it doesn't really work with the theme that is emerging in the house, so I decided to give it a little facelift, if you will.


It was my first time ever stenciling anything, so it is not perfect, but that makes me love it all the more!
It is so cheerful now!
I still have to get some fabric to redo the lining with, as I tore out the old velvet covered cardboard that was inside.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
See you next week!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shape and Bake

Hello! I hope your weekend was all you wanted it to be and more!
Mine certainly was!
I found an image last week that I just fell in love with.
It was just a bunch of colorful circles, but I NEEDED them in my house!
Does that ever happen to you?
A lightbulb went off and I decided to ask Jay to paint something similar for me (He was an art major, after all).
I showed it to him and he agreed that he could and would do it for me.
Of course, I didn't think that this project would get underway anytime soon, so imagine my surprise when we were in Joann's buying paint and supplies!
The idea was to do a series of 6 different shapes, all 5x7.
We picked the shapes and colors and away he went!
Audie snapped this picture of her daddy painting:

Then there were the frames to prime and paint. The kids helped with that, too.

And in less than 2 days time we were ready to hang these!

Can you believe it?? Aren't they just fab? I am positively over the moon about them!
My hubby rocks!
They will hang on either side of our dining room bay window.
I will post pictures of them on the wall eventually. Our dining room is in progress at the moment, so there will be an unveiling at some point!

I made another batch of cupcakes yesterday.. and they were glorious! I decided to go with Pamela's Cake Mix:
It is positively light, fluffy and yummy!
Here they are!

I made semi-sweet cream cheese icing for them and threw in just a couple drops of pink coloring.
Much prettier, yes?
They were so non-typical GF that we gave a plate of them to our neighbors as well.. and that is an amazing thing to be able to do, as most GF products taste like something is missing.. not these though! Pamela's products are now on my shopping list for good!
I can't wait to get a bag of regular bread mix and give it a go.

And before I go.. more pictures Audie took.. she really is getting pretty good at capturing.

 Mini Carnations gracing our coffee table with their beauty.


Have a whimsical week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A World of Color Unfolds!

Hello there! Thank you for stopping by! This is going to be a decent sized post, just a little forewarning.

We have been in our house for 4 months now.
It is such a cozy, happy abode.
But, it needs decorations!
As it stands, we have a long way to go yet in that department.
Slowly but surely, though, we are getting started.
Spring is the perfect time (for me at least) to start making small purchases to spruce up and brighten up our happy little home.
Every store we visit or pass by is filled with flowers, happy colors and lots of cheer. I can hardly contain myself!
I have a feeling that a lot of my posts, at least for the next little while, are going to revolve around my squeeing at the things I have found for my home. I hope you can stomach it!

This is the first time in my life that I have truly, madly, deeply felt the irresistible pull of my inner domestic goddess.
I have no interest in playing or buying video games. I don't want to purchase clothes or makeup.
I want house goodies! I want to paint walls, and upcycle the furniture we have.
I want to crochet blankets and decorations to place around the house.

Before I post pictures, I have to state a disclaimer.
I reeealllly need to work on my photography skills!
At present, I have Jay's combat photog camera. It is a Nikon D70.. and it is awesome!

It is waaay too much camera for me though. It's large and heavy, and I have small hands.
I notice that all of my pictures tend to lean slightly in one direction or the other.
Also, I usually try to snap my pictures before rushing out the door to work, since that's the only time I will have natural light at home during the weekdays.
It is also not very practical for taking pictures away from the house, unless of course I want to look like I am doing a professional photo shoot in the floral aisle at the local grocery. *Snicker*
Therefore, a nice little point and shoot is on my wish list.
So, please try to bear with my horribly presented photos.. I will practice until I get it right.. I promise!

Over the weekend, I baked.
I made Banana Bread, Apple Crisp, and Cupcakes!
Baking in our house is a bit of a different animal than in a lot of households.
Jay is a Celiac, which means that he has an intolerance to wheat gluten.
No regular bread, cake, cookies, noodles, sauces/gravies, soups.. the list goes on and on.
You would be surprised when looking at the ingredients on packages at the sheer amount of products that have wheat in them.
So, we are careful shoppers, and I am a careful cook.
Luckily, there are a ton of products out there to help make the life of a Celiac easier.
Gluten Free (GF) baked goods mixes, lots of non-wheat flours, etc etc
The trick is trying to find the ones that work and taste the best. That is no easy task.
A lot of GF products just taste horrible and/or have a terrible texture.
GF breads are dense. Very, very dense. No fluff, no lightness. You have to use additives like xantham gum and others to help the bread rise. These things are not cheap. No, not at all. But I want to bake.. and it wouldn't be fair of me to bake things that my family cannot eat, now would it?
So, I am trying new products and working on figuring out a good blend of flours to make less dense, fluffier cakes and cupcakes.
I will post my attempts until I get it all figured out!

This weekends' cupcakes:
I used a basic cupcake recipe, substituting Self Rising flour with Almond flour and All Purpose GF flour.
As you can see, they did not rise. And even after a very thorough cooling, they still broke as I removed them from the cups.
I will say, they may not look all that lovely, or be super light and fluffy.. but they tasted wonderful!
I bought a new mix last night, so this weekend I will try again.

We made a trip to the market after work last night, and immediately upon entering the store we were sucked into a world of gorgeous colors!
Flowers and Spring/Easter goodies everywhere.
I had to really refrain from buying up a complete set of pastel dishes. (we were there to buy food, after all)
Jay perused the many packets of seeds while I focused on the potted beauties.
I picked up these wonderful, sunny yellow Chrysanthemums for a song.
While walking round and round the flower bins, I noticed a square of pastel color peeking out of a cubby and snatched it up to see what it could possibly be.

A tablecloth! A lovely, spring-y, checked tablecloth!

Oh joyous happiness abound! It was a bit on the pricey side, so I begrudgingly started to set it back into it's little cubby, thinking, of course; I will come back, perhaps this weekend and retrieve it.. when I noticed the 50% off sign!
Ahhh! My heart leapt, my hands shook a little, and I darted over to Jay to exclaim and pant and rave.
He smiled and nodded his approval, and I am sure he was quietly thinking I had finally lost it.
I ran it through a wash last night, and onto the table it went.
I hurriedly snapped my pictures this morning, loaded them up when I got to work, and the first thing I see is the needing to be smoothed wrinkle! Arrggh. Ah, well, such is life lol

I have been crocheting for 3 years now... my how time flies!
And since, I have oohed and ahhed over all of the luscious granny squares and it's many variations and forms.
It seems many people tend to start learning with squares, as they really can be superbly easy once you have the concept down.
I unfortunately was not that person. I started with straight blankets and used many different stitches. I fell in love with the Bubbles Baby Blanket pattern and focused on it while really working on my tension and getting comfortable with my crafting.

This was by far my favorite one, and my favorite picture so far. If you look really close at the coffee, you can make out the shape of a heart in it. That was purely coincidence!

So.. I tried squares. I finally got it down, and I made a bunch for a child's blanket.
I stacked them and sorted them, and spread them all out, and the thought of joining them all overwhelmed me. So, the box sits. All the pretty little squares begging for attention.
Aren't they just adorable? I will get these all joined up now that I have lost my fear.

Another year passed and I was determined to make something great out of grannies!
I decided to make a blanket for our new house. One that would stay on the sofa for anyone to snuggle up with.
I went with 8 round squares. I figured if I made the squares bigger, the joining would be easier on me.
I really wanted to try the join as you go method, but I wasn't ready.. just couldn't get past the thought that I couldn't do it.
So, I made all of my squares.. and joined them! The border went on and I was ecstatic!
Now that blanket is Jay's. He took it over as soon as the last stitch was tied off.

Anyway, I digress!
I became very comfortable with grannies. I realized they were not scary. They were in fact, very easy, very portable, and very thoroughly satisfying!
So, at long last, I have begun a project that I have been drooling over from all corners of the internet, on many blogs.

I am doing it! And I am even using the join as you go method that terrified me so!
I am so proud, and not ashamed of it!
All the color possibilities. The amazing quickness at which one works up, and the realizing as you join them with your last round that you will not have to do this later, and get to see it grow as you go!
I am excited.. and I cannot wait until I can snuggle up with this wonderful, soft bunch of Hexis!

I think I have rambled enough for one post.
I hope your week is going well and that all of your endeavors are fulfilling!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Bliss!

This weekend was phenomenally gorgeous!
Jay and I puttered around town a bit Saturday and Sunday, had some lunch, did some window shopping and a tiny bit of buying.

We stopped by the garden center so I could see if any of the flowers caught my attention and begged to be brought home with me, and then I saw these:

Beautiful Red Tulips!

And a bargain at $1 per small bunch and $8 per large bunch.

I just love them! Don't you?

I also made another purchase this weekend. My biggest weakness:

Bags! I love to make them and I love to buy them. I do not discriminate. Polka dots!

Last but not least, I will share with you a sneak peek of my At-Work project. (I prefer not to carry one project back and forth every day)

Squares for a baby blanket. The yarn is Bernat Baby Coordinates. It is so plush and soft! It is a bit fiddly though, due to the bit of shiny ribbon that runs through it.

That's all I have for now! I hope your weekend was wonderful and that your week is lovely too!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Day!

Yep.. it's that time again.  Pranks abound.
Not really my favorite day.. especially with Facebook being such a big part of socialization these days.. it's really easy to fool the heck out of your friends.

The weekend is practically here!
It is going to be a nice, relaxing one for me.
Jay has shows tonight and tomorrow, which means I get to clean the house with the music as loud as I like, one of my WIP's will become a FO (Finished Object), and my newest project will get a nice kickstart.
I love easy weekends!
Coffee, tv show marathons, homemaking and crochet.
Life is goooood!

I have no pictures today, that's another thing on the list for the weekend.

I hope your weekend is bright and filled with love!