Sep 26, 2012

Warm-Me-Up Meals

As the weather gets colder I thought it might be time for some feel good recipes. I found some of my favourites on the internet to share with you. I haven't made every one shown here, but I chose dishes that were simple and yet good tasting. Things I wouldn't be afraid to try myself. Click on any of the pictures to go directly to the recipe.

I make pork roasts and pork loins regularly. Sometimes, when I'm feeling lazy I'll throw one in the slow cooker instead of the oven. But even in the oven, this is foolproof (just don't overcook!)

Pork Roast w/Onions and Apples - Turtles and Tails
Pork Roast with Onions and Apples

I make this one a lot. Just this week I made a close relative - hamburger soup. It's so good - better than chili. And again, you could make it in the slow cooker if you wanted to.

Taco Soup - Turtles and Tails
Taco Soup

This I haven't tried but it seems easy and looks amazing. Ritz crackers or panko crumbs for the coating, plus cheese, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream. What's not to love?

Baked Crispy Chicken -
Baked Crispy Chicken

Mini pot pies! Made with refrigerated biscuit dough. These would be nice to have on a night when you've worked late, you're tired, and you just want to eat, now.

Chicken Pot Pie Muffins -
Chicken Pot Pie Muffins

I've had this recipe on my Pinterest recipe board for 21 weeks (I checked.) Now is the perfect time to give it a go. And in single serving cups they would be fantastic for a party or a family dinner. Maybe at Thanksgiving?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle -
Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle

All of these look so good, I can't wait to get started. I'm on vacation next week (staying home refinishing the kitchen cupboards), but I think I might have to fit some cooking into the schedule.

Sep 24, 2012

H Marks the Spot

We've reached the end of the wreath-building marathon! It was a close one, but I think I came out on top.

Here's a look at the final wreath - made for Tom's aunt Bev.

This monogram was almost the death of me. Do you know how many times I painted it? No? Well I'm going to tell you. 6 times. SIX.TIMES.

The letter started out from the store a plain black.

I gave it a thin coat of spray primer and then painted it green (like the house numbers on the first wreath). But I was planning on using green flowers, so I thought, too much green. I decided I'd rather have it yellow, so I sanded the green off and painted it by hand.

But it still wasn't quite right. On to navy blue. Two coats of spray sealer. But no, the blue was too dark.  I went back to yellow. But not the same yellow as before - oh no - this time a pale yellow spray paint. So another coat of primer and then the paint. Whew!

After all that I sanded down the edges to give it a worn look. The extra layers of paint were a bonus because different colours show through depending on how hard I sanded.

Prior to painting (the green coat) I wrapped the crosspiece of the H with twine vertically. I wouldn't suggest wrapping before painting, but when I started I wasn't planning on painting it at all. This means I had to cover the twine each time I sprayed it. Once it was all painted, dried, and sanded, I wrapped the center two-thirds of the letter in more twine, but going in a horizontal direction this time.

I glued the letter directly to the wreath. I had originally planned to hang it from the center (like this wreath), hence the two holes at the top, but because of the size of the letter I think it's more secure this way.

I then just played around with the flowers I had on hand until I found an arrangement I liked. Once they were in place I glued each down. I have some grosgrain ribbon with green, red & yellow in it, so I wound it through the back of the wreath to give it a hanger.

How about a recap of the wreaths I made? (click on each picture to go to the post)

And if you're interested, the wreath that started it all.

Do you have a favourite? Mine is still the layered picture frame wreath. 

Now it's time to get a wreath on my own door! 


I'm linking up here this week!

Sep 20, 2012

Decorating for Fall

Happy Friday! I'll be decorating the house & front entrance for fall this weekend. Do you have anything fun planned?

Just to get in the mood, here is a stroll down memory lane with some of my favourite fall decorating posts from last year. Just click on the description to go to the tutorial.

dryer vent pumpkin

mason jar flameless candles for fall

burlap wreath

Even though Thanksgiving is a long way away for those in the U.S., it's right around the corner for us in Canada. So here is something else you can do with your leftover dryer vent,

dryer vent turkey

And finally, just to warm you up on those cold nights, or for lunch on a rainy Saturday, my recipe for Hamburger Soup.
hamburger soup

Have a great weekend!


I'm linking up here this week!

Sep 17, 2012

It's Chloe Time!

How was your weekend?  Mine was spent like this:

I'm still not feeling 100%. Not even 50%. Can I crawl back under the covers?

We did take time to celebrate Chloe's 6th birthday though. That's right, it's meatcake time once again! The most magical time of the year. 

We didn't have any birthday candles in the house. And no one felt like going out. Poor Chloe. We stuck a tealight on the top of her meatcake - flakes of chicken this year - and called it done.

No party hats, but we did have them wear headbands. 
I think the choices were very fitting.

The bunny:

and the devil-dog:

We have a 10-second video of Chloe and her cake. Nine seconds to convince her she could have it, and then... GONE!

Happy Birthday Chloe-pants - we love you!

Sep 14, 2012

Layered Picture Frame Wreath

Has the crisp fall air hit your area yet? It has here. I'm liking it, as long as it stays dry. I think I'm going to dig out my sweaters this weekend. And it's time to decorate the front porch. Mums and pumpkins. Oh, I have so many ideas for pumpkins this year!

Fall weather also brings on fall wreaths. Last time we chatted, I had just completed this wreath with house numbers and feathers. Pretty, right? Wait 'til you see what I've come up with next. Might be tooting my own horn, but I don't care.

This, this, is my favourite wreath ever. I just love it so much. Like the last one, I made this wreath for someone else. But I really want to keep it. Do you think they'd mind?

I started out with an inexpensive picture frame and wreath from Goodwill. If you remember, I hinted about this project here. I must have spent a good 20 minutes at Goodwill holding wreaths and frames up together until I found the right match.

I removed the glass and matting from the frame (and a pretty picture of lavender that I'll keep) and pulled all of the flowers from the wreath. I sanded down the green paint a little bit and then gave the frame a few coats of taupe-y paint. It looks kind of white here but it is indeed taupe.

Once it was dry I took some sandpaper and sanded down spots here and there, to give it a worn, aged look. It was really hard to get paint to stick to the frame so sanding some off was a breeze. Once I had it worn enough, I applied a very thin layer of wax and buffed it with a cloth.

I used red berries and white flowers to decorate the wreath, with some green leaves that I think look like a vine climbing up the sides. Once I had all of the flowers in place, I stuck them down with hot glue to keep them secure. 

The final touch was a bow made of burlap ribbon. I am so excited to find this ribbon! There were two rolls of it at Walmart and I scooped them both up. Now I'm considering trekking around the area to see if I can find more at other locations. Gotta stock up!

I glued the wreath to the frame in a few spots with hot glue. If you wanted to make it more secure, you could drill small holes in the frame and string wire through the holes and then around the branches.

The loop on the back of the frame is kind of interesting. I layered the burlap ribbon and red grosgrain ribbon (to play off of the colour of the berries), strung them through a metal ring, and stapled them securely to the back of the frame. Now when it's hung the frame and ribbon will both lay flat.

Two wreaths down, one to go! What do you think so far?


I'm linking up here this week!

Sep 10, 2012

Twine Tweak

I'm in my craft room last night, doing my thing, Tom is in his tv room doing his thing (watching bad B movies), when I suddenly yell out, "Oh my God, no!" Tom comes running thinking the dogs have wrecked something. What could be so terrible? I tell him that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively got married this weekend. His response? "Babe, I don't think you're going to get a chance. At this rate you'll end up wife #12."

At least someone understands. Such a good husband. And on his birthday too. Okay, technically his birthday was 3 weeks ago but we finally got around to going out for dinner last night to celebrate. And I was so busy talking (shocking I know) I didn't even notice that he paid the bill. Happy birthday, honey.

Okay, what was I doing when I received this devastating news? Why I was wrapping the rungs of my newly vintage (oxymoron? check.) stool with jute twine. If you remember, I took an old office stool, painted it a pale yellow, and applied a freezer paper transfer to the top.

It was pretty, but I felt it needed more. It was calling out for an improvement. And what doesn't twine improve? Have a boring picture frame? Wrap it in twine. Need unconventional ribbon for a gift? Twine's your guy. Run out of dental floss? Grab the...okay that might be going too far.

But it definitely improved my stool. I'm all about the rustic and that's how it looks now. More homey-country, with a french twist.

All you do is apply a dot of hot glue where the rung meets the leg, press the end of the twine into the glue, and then start wrapping it tightly around the rung. When you get to the end, add another dot of glue and press the twine into it. I then use nail clippers to get in close and cut the twine.

If you'd like more detailed instructions or some pictures of the process check out my tutorial for updating kitchen chairs.

So how about some eye candy? (And not the Ryan Reynolds kind because he is in the dog house right now.)

I even added some pumpkins to give it some fall flair.

Do you think it's an improvement? Have you ever finished a project and then gone back weeks later to give it a tweak? Were you happy that you did?


I'm linking up here this week!

Sep 6, 2012

Fine-feathered Friend

It's almost fall! And you know what that means? It's wreath-building time! There is something about leaves changing colour and pumpkins everywhere that makes me want to build wreaths. I don't get that urge any other time of the year. To paraphrase Courtenay at The Creek Line House, "Fall is textury."

I had been asked to make wreaths for some family members, but I missed out on getting them finished for summer. I don't even have one on my own door. Just some lovely scratches from the wreath that hung all last winter. When will that get touched up? I dunno. Probably around the same time I finish painting the trim in the front foyer.

While we were in Pennsylvania I stocked up on grapevine wreaths at Joann's (using my trusty coupons!) I even bought one at a yard sale. Is that crazy to go to a yard sale when you're on vacation in another country? Then this week I headed out to the dollar store to find the decorations. Since the soon-to-be-wreath-owning family members are all closely related and will see each other all the time, I had to make each one unique. I even managed to come up with ideas to make them personalized.

I started the first one with an 18" grapevine wreath, wooden numbers (also from Joann's) that I sprayed with Krylon "ivy leaf", and flowers and feathers from that ol' dollar store. I'm guessing that they're pheasant feathers. Anyone know for sure?

The building of this one was really straight-forward and easy to do. I tucked the feathers into the vines, facing upwards and downwards, and then added the red flowers into the centre. I salvaged some tiny green leaves from another wreath and slid them in behind the flowers to balance the green numbers on the other side.

Once I had an arrangement I liked I hot glued each feather to either the wreath or the feather below it. I only used a tiny dot of glue - just enough to keep them from falling or blowing out. Those Canadian winds can be menacing! 

The numbers were arranged along the opposite side of the circle. I had to slightly overlap them because they're so large, but glueing them to each other rather than only to the wreath gives them more stability anyway.

I used some wide brown satin ribbon (the same as I used on this gift) as a hanger and declared it complete!

Wasn't that simple? Of course now she can never move. Unless she only looks at houses numbered 1483. Can you imagine telling your real estate agent that? "No, I'm sorry, it's just not the right number."

I'm drawn to both the simplicity of the design and the different textures. 
Flowers, feathers, wood, grapevine. Oh, and satin. 

I hope you'll come back to see the other two!


I'm linking up here this week!

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