Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pineapple Coconut Crisp Recipe


Pineapple Coconut Crisp-001

The other night Mike asked me to make cookies. There was just a slight snag in that request since we were out of eggs. I immediately knew what I could make that was egg free. I saw a recipe for pineapple coconut crisp the other day and had thought it would be perfect to use up some of the pineapple that was in our cabinet. I went to look at my Pinterest food board but I couldn’t find the recipe. After scrolling through all my pins three times, I finally did a search and it popped right up. Then I realized I had read the recipe originally in my All You magazine. I guess not all of my good ideas come from Pinterest :)

I ended up pinning the recipe to my Pinterest board. You can find the original recipe here. I made a slightly adapted version since I didn’t think the original had enough crumb topping and I didn’t add any extra sugar to the pineapple. It is already sweet enough.

Ingredients:
  • 2 20-oz. cans pineapple chunks packed in juice, well-drained
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Put pineapple in a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Combine oats, coconut, brown sugar, flour and ginger in a bowl. Add butter and pinch with your fingers until well combined and mixture is crumbly. (I found that pinching softened the butter more quickly but your could probably do this step with a spoon.)
  3. Scatter topping over pineapple. Bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.
  5. Enjoy!

This was really easy to make. It took me no time to whip it up and it was very tasty. It was a different take on one of my favorite desserts and I will definitely be making it again. We served it the second night with a scoop of ice cream and that made it even better :)

Pineapple Coconut Crisp (2)

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

Monday, May 28, 2012

How to Make a Blog Header in PicMonkey {Beautify Your Blog Series}


how to make a blog header


I wanted to update my header to be smaller so it would show off more of my first blog post and sidebar. I also wanted to give it a cleaner look with a design that I could use to make a blog button. I decided to use Picmonkey to make the new header. My last one was made in Picnik which we all know has sadly closed.

You can customize this header to your liking so hopefully this tutorial will give you the tools to make it your own.

I use Blogger so if you use Wordpress or Typepad then you may still be able to use this tutorial to make the header but I don’t have instructions for uploading it to your blog.

In order to determine the sixe of my header googled blog header sizes and determined I wanted to make it 80 long (if you want a bigger header you can increase this length.) Since the width of my blog is 1100, I decided to make it 1080 wide. This was after a little trial and error to determine that the size of the header didn’t work if it was the same length as my blog width.

I started out by going to Picmonkey.com and clicking Edit Photo. Then I selected a photo off of my computer. We are going to be covering over the photo so it doesn’t matter which one you pick. I tried to use one of the Picmonkey stock photos but found it wasn’t long enough.

picmonkey

Once you have your photo up, click on the top icon (that looks like a molecule) on the left hand toolbar. Then pick crop, enter your dimensions and hit Apply. Mine was 1080 by 80 but you can change the size to suit your blog width. This is going to give me a long and skinny header.

crop

When you crop your picture you might find that you want to use it as your background. I have done that with previous header versions. If you like the look of your picture as your background you can skip covering it up. I’ll show you an example at the end of this post. I wanted to have a solid colored header so I covered my picture up.

Pick the fifth option down that looks like a heart, word bubble and star. Then pick Geometric. Pick the rectangle shape and find the color you want your background to be. I picked a dark gray.

rectangle

The colors you pick are important to remember if you want to use them again. In the little Overlay box there is a number for the color you chose. This field is editable. I copied this number into a spreadsheet I use to keep track of my blog stuff so I would be able to use it again. You can also type or paste a number into this field to bring up the color you want.

color

Stretch the rectangle until it covers up your picture. Then click the combine button. It’s the one the arrow is pointing at in the bottom left. This will prevent you from moving the solid background around. You also can’t change the color anymore at this point so make sure this is the color you want!

combine

Next, it’s time to add text. Click the P on the left hand side. Enter your text in the top box and click Add. Find a font that you like. You can scroll through and change the fonts to see how each one looks with your text.

Text

Resize the text by grabbing the box that is around it and making it bigger or smaller. You can also adjust the color.
If you want to add more text, click off of the text you just resized and type in the text box again. I added a tag line to my header.

text 2

Now it’s time to decorate! Click on fifth option down that looks like a heart, word bubble and star again. Scroll through the list and click on the headers to see the different shapes options. I played around with some of the shapes you can choose from in the picture below. You can change the color of the shape too by choosing a new color in the Overlay box. When you find a color you like, don’t forget to save the number.

shapes

I decided to use circles for a polka dot effect. Under Geometric I picked a circle. I resized it until it was the size I wanted. Then I right clicked on the shape and choose Duplicate Clipart from the menu that popped up. I made four copies.

shapes 2

Then I picked out the colors I wanted by clicking on the shape and picking out a color from the Overlay box. I made sure to write down the numbers I liked.

shapes 3

Then I used the duplicate clipart to make a copy of all the colored circles to repeat in the other corner. The hardest part was trying to make them line up. I just played with it until I felt like they were fairly even.

shapes 4

Once you have your header the way you want it then click Save in the bottom left corner. Give your header a file name and double check the size is correct before clicking Save Photo.

save

Now that you finished your header it’s time to upload it to your blog. Go to your blogger dashboard and go to Layout. The large top box should be your header. Click edit.

blogger header

Under Image click browse and find the header your just saved. If you already have an image here you will have to remove it first. Under Placement select Instead of Title and Description. Then click Save.

blogger header 2

Tadah! You just put your new header on your blog.

Here’s an example of another type of header you could make. I used a picture as the background for the header. I just cropped a larger picture and then added text to it.

sample blog header


Previous posts:
How to customize your Blogger background

Upcoming posts:
How to make a blog button using Picmonkey
How to make social media buttons using Picmonkey
How to use Windows Live Writer
How to make a Facebook cover photo
How to make a blog header part II
Blogging Resource Roundup

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.


Giveaway Winner!


memorial day 2
Happy Memorial Day! Mike and I am enjoying the day off from work. We celebrated our niece’s 7th birthday on Saturday and went on a long bike ride yesterday. There has also been lots of watering to do to keep the veggies and flowers happy in the hot weather we have been having. It’s been feeling like late summer at the end of May.

But enough about my weekend, on the important stuff. The winner of the crochet a day calendar is…Cheryl! Congrats Cheryl! I will be sending you an email shortly. I hope you have lots of fun crocheting new patterns :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Crochet Works in Progress

 

IMG_1513

 

I have been thinking about opening my own Etsy shop lately. In order to do that I needed to figure out what to sell. My bear hat pattern has been one of my most popular posts and got a ton of traffic from Pinterest. I figured that would be a good place to start.

I am changing up the pattern a bit by using half double crochet instead of single crochet. I’ve been keeping track of the pattern for each size I’ve made. I have preemie/newborn, 0-3 month, 3-6 month and 6-12 month figured out for the hat size. I still need to make the earflaps, ears and braids (plus finish these hats off because I didn’t weave in my ends yet.)

I’ve also been trying to keep track of how long each one takes me to make. I’ve noticed with the half double crochet stitch it makes my hands tired after about an hour and I have to take long breaks to recover. I’ve been switching between my latest knitting project and crochet to keep them from getting sore. I need to come up with some double crochet patterns because that stich is easier on my hands.

I am still figuring out what else I want to sell along with the bear hats. I have some ideas for flowers, headbands and more hats but I’m still finalizing what is going to work for me. It’s hard narrowing down all of the ideas floating around my head :)

I’m looking forward to a three day weekend with Mike since we both have Memorial Day off. Hope you have a great weekend too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Vegetable Garden Journey


This is my fourth year that I have planted a large vegetable garden in our back yard. The first two years in our house I had a couple of veggies in pots on our patio. Then I got bit by the gardening bug. My mom was always an avid gardener and I didn’t have a huge interest in it until four years ago. I always liked planting flowers but wasn’t that interested in growing my own.

The first year I grew a vegetable garden I planted everything from seed. I had no idea what I was doing and it was completely overgrown. I planted yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes and peppers. I didn’t realize that yellow squash is a huge vine that grows up to 6 feet long. I planted way too many plants and we had squash and zucchini out the wazoo that year.

The second year I decided not to plant anymore yellow squash. I convinced Mike to help me expand our garden and I planted zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, spaghetti squash lettuce, swiss chard and carrots. I started them all from seed except one of the tomatoes. This was the year we discovered we hated swiss chard. No matter how I tried to cook it, it always tasted like dirt and I decided not to plant that one again.

This was also the year I met my garden nemesis the striped cucumber beetle. Those nasty little bugs killed my spaghetti squash, cucumber and zucchini prematurely. They like all vegetables in the cucurbit family. That’s anything in the squash or cucumber family. I tried spraying them will all sorts of bug killer but I couldn’t get rid of them. I refused to use anything that wasn’t organic because I am against pesticide in the vegetable garden. We had a short zucchini season that year.

This was also the first year for my volunteer grape tomato. It sprung up in our window well out of nowhere. I told Mike it came out of a bird’s butt and he liked that explanation so much he made me tell everyone that ate those tomatoes :)

Last year, the third year, was when I discovered square foot gardening. I don’t remember what got me started on it but I diligently read up on it with books from the library and Googling different sites. The premise is to plant more vegetables in a smaller space by using raised beds. This felt like the perfect answer to our small back yard and poor soil. I convinced Mike to build me three 4 by 4 raised beds with an attached trellis. I worked really hard that spring to set up the new beds and spread grass seed over the old garden.

I loved my square foot gardens. They were so much easier to maintain. I still battled with the cucumber beetles but I tried to be more diligent about squishing them. That was the only method that worked. Those little suckers are quick. I kept them to a minimum but they still ended my cucumbers early. This year I tried some new veggies. I started them all from seed. I grew garlic, peas, dinosaur kale, baby bok choy, lettuce, onions, new tomato varieties, new pepper varieties, cucumber, squash, radish and bush beans.

I saved seeds from my volunteer tomato and grew it in one of the beds but it also sprung up again in the window well. I found it to be so fascinating that this tomato came back again. It’s pretty unusual for a tomato seed to survive through the winter and start growing in the spring.

At the end of the growing season we brought home our pup Abby. She is a mini garbage can with a taste for veggies and digging. Abby and Rufus, our other dog, enjoyed eating the tomatoes that fell off the plant at the end of the season. Then she discovered the kale plant that lasted through the frost and the garlic bulbs I had planted in the fall. All winter she would root around in the garden and several times she came back in with garlic burps. She also enjoyed eating the tops off all of the garlic that actually sprouted.

This year will be my fourth year of my vegetable garden. This is the year Mike and I puppy proofed the garden with fencing so there are no more garlic burps and digging.  I am growing garlic, lettuce, baby bok choy, kale, peas onions, radish, three kinds of beans, carrots, peppers, and tomatoes.
I didn’t start everything from seed this year because we were thinking of moving and I never got around to it. We made a trip to Lowes yesterday and picked up tomatoes, peppers, basil and lemon thyme (more on my herb garden later.) I planted seeds for lettuce, radish, bush beans and carrots. Plus I also planted cilantro, parsley and dill. I am not putting in any cucumbers or zucchini this year in the hopes that I can break the cycle of cucumber beetles. I don’t have the desire to try and outsmart them this year. My volunteer tomatoes popped back up in the window well again so that’s one tomato plant I didn’t have to buy from the store.

I put everything in last weekend but it’s a tad bit early to be planting all the warm season veggies in the garden since I am in zone 5 and there is a possible chance of frost up until Memorial day. I am taking my chances this year early since the weather has been really mild. I will be diligently watching the forecast though and be ready to cover my plants up with some frost protection in case it happens.

That was a long story so if I didn’t lose you by now, thanks for reading :)

Here are a couple of my cool winter crops before the warm season veggies went it.

romaine lettuce
Romaine Lettuce

red sails lettuce
Red Sails Lettuce

garlic
Garlic

peas
Peas



Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Customize Your Blogger Background {Beautify Your Blog Series}


How to customize your blogger background

Did you notice my new blog design? I wanted to give my blog a new look. I really wanted to hire someone to do it for me but I couldn’t justify spending money. I decided I would figure out a new look on my own. I pretty excited with the results and it was 100% free. It only cost me my time to look for tutorials through Google and Pinterest. I wanted to share what I’ve learned in a little series to help any blog DIYers that want to give their blog a fresh look.

I blog with Blogger so if you use a different system like Wordpress or Typepad this post won’t apply.

I figured out how to customize my blog background a while ago. I can’t remember where I got the original instructions but it is surprising how easy to customize blogger templates are as long as you know where to look. I just updated the background to go along with the new color scheme I came up with.

Once you are in your Blogger dashboard, start out by picking Template and then Customize.

Pick customize

An easy template to work with is Simple. Click on it, then pick the first option underneath. It’s ok if you don’t like the background. We are going to change it.

Simple template

Now click on Background in the top left corner. Under Background Image is a tiny upside down triangle. Go ahead and click on it.

back ground

This is where the fun begins! There are tons of backgrounds you can choose from. The first time I looked in here, I spent forever looking through all the fun backgrounds. The one I chose to use is under Patterns. In this category you can change the color of the pattern for most of the backgrounds. Pick Done when you have the background you want.

backgrounds

After you pick a background, if the color can be changed, you pick your color under Main Color Theme. You can play around with the different colors until you find one you like. If you picked a non changeable background you can skip this step or use the colors to pick a theme for your fonts.
You can also change the color and then go back to the Background Image to see how the backgrounds look with the new color

colors

Now you can adjust the width of your blog to show less background and more of your content. Click on Adjust widths in the top left corner. Move the slide bar or type in the width you want. I have my blog set to 1100 and the sidebar set to 300.

width

Now you can change the font and colors of your text. Click on Advanced in the top left corner. There is a list of everything you can customize starting with Page Text. To the right you pick the font, size and color. For some of the colors I kept the default and the ones I changed I used the Colors From This Template. I made sure to repeat my fonts so my look would be consistent. I picked one font for all of the headers/descriptions and a separate font for the post content.

fonts

Tadah! You just customized your blog!

I have more posts coming up:
How to make a blog header using Picmonkey
How to make a blog button using Picmonkey
How to make social media buttons using Picmonkey
How to use Windows Live Writer
How to Make a Facebook Cover Photo
How to Make a Blog Header Part II
Blogging Resource Roundup

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DIY Nail Polish Painted Jewelry


nail polish painted necklace and earrings

I have seen nail polish painted jewelry floating around the bloggy world lately. The other day I was digging through my box of “unusable jewelry.” It basically contains all the jewelry I think has upcycling potential. In my box I have a bunch of tarnished jewelry. I’ve tried cleaning it before and it always gets tarnished too quickly. None of it is really worth anything so I gave up trying to keep it shiny.

I spotted a necklace and two pairs of earrings that seemed like they would be perfect to add some color to. I am a big fan of the colorful jewelry that is popular right now so I decided to try painting with nail polish. I wanted to match up some of the cabochon jewelry I made the other day so that helped me to make my color choices. I found these three colors at Target.

IMG_1256

I wanted to paint two necklaces and two pairs of earrings. One of the pairs of earrings got slightly deconstructed since I always felt like the were two heavy in my ears.

IMG_1257

IMG_1264

IMG_1265

I started painting. I put on around four coats and then it started getting really tacky when I tried to add any more coats so I let them dry for a week. I’m sure they didn’t need to dry that long but I was busy and didn’t have time to come back to them. I applied a couple more coats until I was satisfied with the coverage

IMG_1266

I attempted to paint the chain on one of the necklaces. I figured I wasn’t going to wear it like it was so there was no risk to try it. It was a big fail. The chain got really stiff so I pitched it and figured I would make up a new and better chain.

I really liked how the orange came out. It was the perfect color and the finish was really shiny. I felt like the green was too matte so I put on a coat of clear polish to give it more shine.

I am pretty pleased with how they all turned out. I breathed life into these pieces I had no intention of ever wearing again. Plus it was much cheaper than buying all these pieces from the store and I still have lots of nail polish leftover.

If I was going to try and paint anymore jewelry I would want to try spray painting. I think it might put a more even coat on everything. Maybe that will be a future project :)

nail polish painted necklace 2

nail polish painted earrings 2

nail polish painted necklace

nail polish painted earrings

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I won a Liebster Award!

 

liebster (1)[1]

 

I am feeling doubly special because I have been awarded a Liebster award by two different bloggers!

The first one came from Hanni at Hannicraft. Hanni is an awesome crocheter and knitter and is always sharing her super cute patterns. If you love to do either you have to check out her blog!

The second one came from Sara at My Merry Messy Life. Sara is also a crocheter who shares her cute crochet patterns. She also blogs about green homemaking and shares recipes. This is another blog you must visit if you love to crochet.

Thanks so much ladies! I am honored to get picked twice within 24 hours of one another. I must be doing something right!

Here are the rules for winning this award:
1. Post about your win on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.
3. Copy and past the award button to your blog.
4. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have fewer than 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized.
5. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

It was really hard for me to find smaller bloggers that don’t have this award yet, especially since I couldn’t pick Hanni or Sara. I couldn’t come up with 5 but I want to spread the love to these 2 lovely ladies.

 

Bree @ Breezy Pink Daisies. Bree has a lot of cute clothing and accessory DIY ideas.

Whitney @ Keeping Up With the Cyberts. Whitney shares a lot of yummy recipes and fun craft ideas.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What’s Blooming in My Garden: Early May

 

We had a weekend of perfect weather. I was determined to do some rearranging in my front perennial bed and I am feeling pretty good about what I accomplished.  My perennial garden consists of plants that were here when we moved in, plants from my garden loving family members, plants I grew from seed and clearance finds. It seems like this year everything has grown really big and I felt like it was getting a little crowded.

A couple of weekends ago I started digging up my herb garden I had on the front side of the house. I felt like we weren’t using the herbs very often because they weren’t conveniently located. I dug up my chives, garlic chives, oregano and thyme and moved them to some pots on our back patio.

This left me with a big space to fill. I  wanted to fill it with moonbeam coreopsis because the one I planted two years ago had tripled in size and was crowding out my azalea. I divided  it into three pieces and transplanted two of them and gave the other one away to my neighbor. It is still looking very unhappy but I’m sure it will bounce back.

I also moved a Siberian iris that was getting crowded out and some allium bulbs I planted last year that were in too much shade.

I passed on a lot to my neighbors too. I outfitted my next door neighbor with a third of a ginormous mum that was taking over my garden, two clumps of garlic chives and two clumps of back eyed susan that were rapidly spreading. My other neighbor got a clump of mums and coreopsis. My mom got a clump of mums and garlic chives.

My mom brought be a clump of columbine that needs to find a home in my garden. I plan on planting it today.

After all that digging and dividing I am feeling really good about my garden. It has been slowly evolving over the 6 1/2 years we have been living here. So far there had been something blooming all season and I hope that I’ve planned it well enough that the blooms will continue until it frosts.

Here is what is blooming right now.

 

bearded iris

Bearded Iris and Lilac

 

lilac

Lilac

 

Columbine

Columbine

 

chives

Chives

My First Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed

Today I am holding my first giveaway! I got some interest in my extra Crochet 2012 Calendar so I am going to give it to one lucky follower. This calendar is full of great crochet patterns. Even though the year is part way over you can still use all the patterns from the beginning of the year. I had to peek ahead and there are lots of good ones still to come :)
crochet a day
In order to enter:
1. Follow me on Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Linky Followers or email.
2. Each additional follow is an extra entry
3. Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest
Leave me a comment for each entry and don’t forget your email address so I can contact you if you win.
I will take entries until Sunday May 27th.
Good Luck!

Friday, May 11, 2012

DIY Pearly Shell Necklace


DIY necklace jewelry

I bought these pearly shell beads at Joann’s a while ago. I loved the way the looked but had no idea what I was going to do with them. They sat in my jewelry stash until I was feeling inspired the other day to make a necklace with them.

I wanted to make something simple and shorter. I had another necklace that is the perfect short length so I used it as a guide for the length. I wanted to use two different types of beads so I started rooting around in my bead stash. The pearl beads caught my eye since the shell beads look very pearly. I played around with a couple of different sizes before settling on the tiny pearls. I also pulled out my beading thread, a tiny needle and a closure finding.

IMG_1119

I started stringing the beads onto my thread.  I alternated between the pearl and shell. I ended up stringing some extra pearls on the beginning and end so I would get the length of my inspiration necklace. I knotted the ends and used fittings that clamp on the ends of string and give a place to attach a closure (I have no idea what they are called.) Then I attached my closure.

IMG_1120

This was so quick and easy and I love the way it came out. It has the elegance of pearls but with a different twist. Plus I get a real sense of accomplishment when I wear it. I love wearing something I made and paid a fraction of the cost then if I had bought it in the store. I actually found a pair of earrings at the garage sale I went to two weekends ago that are a perfect match for this necklace. I only paid 50 cents to make this a set :)

I took this pic my my remote firing control for my camera. I finally figured out how to use it and it was super easy. Can’t wait to use it more often. If you are interested in the flower the tutorial is here.

diy necklace jewelry

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

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