Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Blog Updates

Hi my lovely readers!

I was playing around with the design on my blog today. I made it a little bit wider to show less background and more of my posts. When I did that I had to redo my header to fit the new size so I tried out a slightly different design.

The big change was to my tabs at the top. I split up all my past projects into different pages with bigger pictures so it will be easier to look up projects I have done. I also wanted to show what the main kinds of projects are that I work on to any possible new readers.

I hope you like my new changes and let me know if you have any other suggestions!

Have a great holiday weekend. I know I will enjoy having Monday off from work :)

Blue and Green Drop Necklace

DIY drop necklace

The other day I was browsing Etsy wistfully looking at all the pretty drop necklaces I wanted to buy. I didn’t need a new necklace but I really wanted one. I forced myself to close my laptop and I decided to go make myself a necklace instead.

Let me just say I am no jewelry making expert. I have made a few necklaces but I still consider myself a beginner. Really basic jewelry making is easy to me but once it gets into bending head pins, I struggle to make it look professional. I think I am probably my biggest critic because I notice all the imperfections more than anyone else would.

Despite all it’s challenges, I love making myself a new necklace or pair of earrings. I get really excited when I get a compliment on a necklace I made. The more I make, the easier it gets. I’ve learned so much but there is so much still to learn!

Most of the time when I make a necklace the design evolves as I go. I usually start out with one plan and then it changes as I’m making the piece. For this necklace I based everything on these beads I got at Michaels.

green and blue beads for diy necklace

Other supplies I used were three kinds of chain, head pins, jump rings, a clasp and seed beads.
I started out by adding a head pin to all of the beads. I don’t think I’m showing in this pic but some of the holes in the beads were a little too big and the head pin was slipping through. I added a matching seed bead in between the head pin and the large bead to prevent the head pin from slipping.

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Next I bent the ends of the head pin into a loop. I am still not very good at this but you can find a good tutorial for this at Miss Lovie or Flamingo Toes.

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The next part was really tough for me. It took me a couple of sessions to figure this out. I added all of the beads to the long piece of chain. I had trouble keeping the chain straight so I wrapped the chain around one of my craft storage containers and used a safety pin to hold it up. This helped to prevent the chain from moving around when I was adding the beads.

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I felt like the necklace needed a little more weight so I cut two smaller lengths of different chains and added them above the beads with a jump ring.

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I finished the necklace off with a clasp attached to a jump ring.

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And my necklace was complete! I’m excited I finally found a use for these beads. I proudly wore my new necklace to work the other day :)

DIY drop necklace

DIY drop necklace

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bike Ride Pictures

 

Mike and I have been exploring the bike trails in our area. We spent a big chunk of our vacation discovering the local trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We learned that there is one huge trail with lots of points to hop on. It’s so fun to ride on it. The scenery is beautiful and most of the trail is covered by trees so it’s nice and cool when we are riding.

On one of our rides we found a place on the trail we both thought would be great for taking some pics. Mike got to practice with the DSLR camera. I mainly use it for taking pictures of my crafty endeavors so he had some fun getting familiar with it.

I think he did pretty great for his pictorial debut :)

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Wide Leg to Skinny Short Refashion


Wide to skinny shorts refashion

I am sharing the guest post I did for Jeannie at Living, Loving, Crafting in case you missed it.

As you may know, I have been on a refashioning kick lately to work through my out of control refashion pile piece by piece. One of my favorite ways to refashion is to take a wide pair of pants, capris or shorts and make them skinny. I use pieces I already own or shop for great deals at the thrift store.

I’ve shared two projects already for skinnifying my tangerine capris and white capris and now I have a pair of shorts I’m going to share with you.

These lovelies were a thrift store find. I got them on 75 cents day and I was so excited to find a pair at the price! I was looking for a black pair of shorts and these ones fit my waist. The only problem was that they were too wide but since they were only 75 cents I couldn’t pass them up.

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I’ve done a similar technique like this many times on capris and pants but it is so much easier with shorts. They don’t need to bend at the knee so it’s easier to avoid taking them in too far.

I took the shorts and turned them inside out. I laid another pair of shorts that I liked the width of on top of the black shorts. I drew a line on the black shorts down the side of the white shorts with tailors chalk. The pic I have below is a little deceiving because I actually moved my line over a little bit more. If you don’t have a pair of shorts that fits the way you want you can also try on the shorts and pin where you want to take them in. That’s what I did with my tangerine capris.

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Sew down the line you just drew. Make sure the line is straight or you will get strange puckers in the seam. Try on the shorts to make sure they fit. If they aren’t tight enough then sew a new line a little bit over from the first one to make the legs tighter. If they are too tight, unpick your seam and sew your line out a little bit to make the leg looser. Once you have the right fit (I almost never get it right the first time) then sew a zig zag line on the outside of the new seam and cut off the extra. Finish it off by pressing the seam flat to make it look more professional.

Now I have a cute pair of black skinny shorts for a steal! (P.S. If you like my necklace you can see how I made it here)

wide leg to skinny shorts refashion

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Raw Tomato Sauce Recipe


raw tomato sauce recipe

My favorite thing to grow in my veggie garden is tomatoes hands down. I rarely eat the ones from the grocery store. They are hard and don’t taste like anything. The thing about growing tomatoes is they seem to all ripen at once and I am scrambling to figure out how to eat them.

Remember this picture? (I have to keep sharing it because I am so proud :P)

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See those tomatoes? That’s what I had sitting in my fruit basket on the verge of over ripening. I didn’t want to take the time to make real tomato sauce and I needed an easy way to use them all up at once.

I did some Googleing and found this recipe from Elana’s Pantry. It looked really quick and easy plus I had all the ingredients.

Here’s the slightly adapted recipe:
Approx 18 tomatoes (see pic above for what I used)
1 cup fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon salt

1. Whirl garlic and salt in food processor.
2. Add the basil and pulse until well chopped.
3. Save two tomatoes and add in the rest. Pulse until smooth or slightly chunky.
4. Roughly chop the remaining two tomatoes and add to sauce.

Wasn’t that easy? The chopped tomatoes really add to it so don’t leave that part out. This made about 8 servings of sauce for us so it can easily be made with less tomatoes.
It tasted like yummy fresh tomatoes. We served it over pasta. We refrigerated the leftovers and heated them up with the pasta and it retained the fresh flavor. This is definitely a keeper for quick way to eat up a bunch of ripe tomatoes.

raw tomato sauce recipe

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Guest Posting

 

I’m guest posting for Jeannie over at Living Loving Crafting. Stop by to see my wide leg to skinny shorts refashion!

 

Wide to skinny shorts

Friday, August 17, 2012

Our Wine Trip to Geneva

 

When Mike and I were on vacation we took a day trip to wine country in Geneva, Ohio. We went to four different wineries and sampled lots of tasty wines. Mike was really nice and drove so he just had tiny sips of the wine and let me finish them. We brought lots of bottles home for him to enjoy too :)

The first winery we went to was Debonne Vineyards. Mike’s parents used to go to this one so we planned our whole trip around stopping here first.

debonne vineyard

debonne vineyard

This vineyard was really cute. The inside was very nice and there was a huge patio. We went on a Wednesday so it wasn’t crowded which was really nice.

They had a sampler tray that we purchased with four dry white and four dry red wines. Since it’s summer I lean more toward the white wines but they were all pretty good.

Debonne Vineyards sampler

The next vineyard we went to was South River Vineyard. This one was really cool because it used to be a church that was moved from a different town in Ohio.

South River Vineyards

South River Vineyards

South River Vineyards

It was really picturesque with a great view of the vineyards behind it. We liked this one because they let you bring your own food in. We sat outside and ate our lunch with a white wine sampler. The wine here was really good but a bit on the pricey side so we only bought one bottle.

South River Vineyards sampler

The next vineyard was Virant Winery. I took a picture of this one but it didn’t come out :( This was out least favorite of the four. The winery kind of felt like a cafeteria and the dry white wines weren’t that good. We still bought a bottle of wine but it definitely wasn’t as good as the others we tried.

The last vineyard we went to was Ferrante Winery. This one was the biggest and most commercialized of the four. It wasn’t originally on my list but there was a huge sign we got off the highway so we decided to stop there last since we both recognized the name.

My picture of the outside of this one didn’t come out either. I think my settings were messed up (I was a bit distraught when I figured this out once we were home.) This winery was huge and it had a large attached restaurant. It also was the busiest winery we were at, or at least it was busy for a Wednesday. They had by far the biggest variety of wines. We got the sampler of dry whites and reds and it was 12 different kinds. We also got a cheese and pepperoni tray to go along with it.

I really enjoyed the wines here. It was really hard to choose and I kept sampling and narrowing it down. We ended up buying the wines we liked best that were also the most reasonably priced.

Ferrante winery sampler 

I would love to go back and try some more wineries. We scoped out some lodging and there are so many more wineries that we didn’t get to go to. It’s will make a fun future weekend trip!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece


Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece

My mom got married last weekend and I was recruited to make the centerpieces. I spent a lot of time searching through Pinterest for some inspiration. The end product became my own creation made out of what I had on hand.

The two posts that inspired me are this pin from Party Ideas By A Pro. I showed you the link to the pin because the pic gets lost in the post. It’s a mason jar centerpiece with lemon slices. This led to the idea of using mason jars for the centerpieces since my mom did not want to buy a bunch of glass containers she would never use again.

The other inspiration came from this post from Madigan Made. She covered golf balls in various fabrics and filled a glass jar with them.

I searched my stash and found some lace and ribbon that made a great combo.

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I originally wanted to tape the lace on so it could be removed easily later but it didn’t stay so I ended up using hot glue. I made a couple of small dabs on the back of the lace and secured it to the jar.

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I put one row of lace around the bottom and then flipped the lace upside down to make a second row on the top. The lace fit together really nicely because of its shape.

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Then I took the ribbon and tied it around the top with a double knot. I made a simple bow and cut the ends to make them look prettier. This is a super easy trick. Fold the ribbon in half and then cut on the diagonal. This makes the end look fancier and helps the ribbon from fraying

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Here is the finished product waiting for flowers.

Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece

We put a few golf balls in the bottom to hold the flowers up. It was a nice touch since my mom and her new husband love to golf and they got married on a golf course. We filled the jars with some beautiful Gerber daisies.

Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece

Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece

Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece

Mason Jar Ribbon and Lace Centerpiece

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


Monday, August 13, 2012

Veggie Garden Progress: Mid August


I can’t believe it’s already part way through August! Summer always goes by way too quickly. We are finally into tomato season in my veggie garden. My two big tomato plants have started producing like crazy. The jalapeno and Serrano pepper are also going crazy. This is always my favorite time in the veggie garden. The only kind of tomatoes I like to eat are the super ripe ones fresh from the garden.

I posted this pic on Facebook last week. This is what I picked out of the garden in one day. Two kinds of tomatoes, hot peppers, the cubanelle I finally picked since it started to turn red, green beans and carrots. I think I could have let a couple of the carrots stay a little longer. They are supposed to be a short variety for heavier soil. It’s actually the best they have ever done for me before. I have about double this amount of peppers now since I picked a whole bunch more.

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This is my bed with peppers, green beans and basil. The bush beans I have in this garden were almost done producing but I had to rip them out a little sooner than I wanted. My dog Abby discovered she loves to eat green beans and figured out how to rip the plants out, despite the fact that there is a fence up. The other bed with green beans was starting to produce and some of the plants were growing through the fence. Once she got a taste for the green beans it was all over! She ripped almost all the plants out and was eating the beans and stalks. I nearly had a heart attack! After she decimated the other bed she figured out there were green beans in this one too so I just ripped them out. They were starting to die out anyway and I didn’t want her to think she could eat them anymore.

She also stole an onion that was drying in the garage and ate the entire thing. I found out from a friend that dog’s shouldn’t eat onions but it was a few days ago and she seems to be doing fine. I feel like I need to build a fortress around my veggie garden to keep her out. She is such a little veggie lover I am beginning to think she needs some daily veggies in her diet.

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My gypsy pepper is finally starting to do really well. These peppers were supposed to be sweet but they are actually a mild hot pepper. They are really good in salsa.

gypsy pepper

The serranos are producing like crazy. I have been trying to wait until they turn red but I actually picked a whole bunch off of here right after I took the picture. I am thinking about dehydrating or pickling them.

serrano pepper

This is the cubanelle. I picked the huge pepper off of here and there are quite a few other little ones on the plant.
cubanelle pepper

Here are my pole green beans. They are really starting to take over the trellis but they aren’t producing anything yet. I hoping they start soon since I won’t be getting much more off of my bush beans.

pole grean beans

My roma tomato is producing like crazy. I need to figure out what we are going to do with all the tomatoes. We have been eating tomato, basil and mozzarella salad but we aren’t eating them up fast enough. I think I might need to make some tomato sauce.

roma tomato

Here’s my better boy tomato. This guy is getting enormous! It doesn’t produce as many tomatoes as the roma but they are about twice the size and the flavor is better. This is the bed where I had a great crop of eight bush bean plants and now I’m down to too after Abby did her work on it. I’m hoping she doesn’t figure out how to get to them.

better boy tomato

And last but not least is my topsy turvy. Compared to the other two giant tomato plants, this guy looks pretty sad. I grew this type of tomato, a sungold, last year and it was almost as big as the better boy is right now. Despite the fact that it’s so small, I don’t really mind. It’s producing tomatoes and this is my snack tomato plant. When I go to check on the garden I eat the ripe tomatoes while I’m checking on everything else. I grew three big tomato plants last year and it was hard to keep up with everything they produced. I am working hard to keep up with watering this one but it still has some yellowing leaves on it.

My opinion of the topsy turvy is that it’s good when you don’t have a place to plant a tomato in the ground but it will not get as big or produce as much as a tomato in the ground. It makes the most sense for the type of tomatoes that aren’t supposed to get very big. I’m still on the fence about using it again next year but it’s working out for me right now. I’m not completely overwhelmed with tomatoes and I still get to enjoy a third tomato variety.

topsy turvy sungold tomato

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