Tag Archives: DIY

What’s for dinner?

1 Jul

That use to be a question I’d ask my parents every evening, now that Scott and I have our own place (I know, I know, I haven’t mentioned it much. I will, when I’m ready.), we take turns asking each other.

For those who know me well, my aversion to all things cooking is nearly comical. I’m more of a microwave-it girl. But….since I have to be an adult, I have deciding to give cooking a fair chace, and surprisingly, I am learning to love it!

Last night, I had the answer – Caprese Chicken. A-couple-weeks ago I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and one of my friends had liked a video quickly demonstrating how the dish is made. After watching it a-couple-times and tracking down the recipe online, I decided this was a meal I could make!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced (I bought a jar of minced garlic, 1 tsp = 2 cloves)

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp. shredded basil (I had dried basil, so I used that instead)

Mozzarella slices

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Start off by halving your tomatoes. This took me roughly 15 minutes. Save in a bowl for later! You’ll be glad you did this ahead of time!

 

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In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until golden-brown and cooked through – roughly 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate until later.

 

Add balsamic vinegar to skillet to deglaze, then add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add your halved tomatoes and season with salt. Let simmer until soft, 5-7 minutes. The stir in basil.

I used this time to clean up my workspace a bit. While cooking the chicken, the hot oil had a tendency to spit out of the pan and got all over my stove top and countertop. I also used this time to begin putting used ingredients away and utensils in the sink.

Return chicken to the skillet and nestle in the tomatoes. Cover with a slice of mozzarella and cover skillet with lid to melt cheese.

Spoon tomatoes over chicken and serve.

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I served this meal with some steamed vegetables and it was everything comfort food is supposed to be! Full of flavor, the chicken was juicy, the tomatoes melted in your mouth and the cheese was ooh-gooy delicious! Facebook recipe for the win! This is a meal I know we’ll be making many times!

Wordless Wednesday – 7/2/14

2 Jul

Stars and stripes forever!

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Cloud 1,000

16 Feb

Have you ever been so in love, you just wanted to shout it from the rooftops, print in the papers, write it the sky and tell random strangers on the street about how happy you are this special person chose you? If you haven’t had that feeling yet, trust me when I say it’s one of the best natural highs you’ll ever experience.

It’s no secret that I’ve had my heart broken a few times, and that I’ve had to relearn to take life, love and relationships one day at a time. But can I just say what a difference a year makes – February 14, 2013 wasn’t all that spectacular, except that I began to love me, and I took the steps needed to heal emotionally, and even learned to trust my heart with someone new.

While the events I’m about to tell you about happened for Valentine’s Day, that’s not what this post is really about at all. It’s about finally feeling whole, like I’ve found the missing puzzle piece in my life – him.

I’m use to low-key Valentine’s Days. Even WHEN I was “lucky” enough to be with someone — it’s always just been another day. And please don’t get me wrong, I’d rather show and receive love the other 364 days of the year if it was one or the other. But, that being said, I’ve still always wondered what it would feel like to be surprised on this day meant for romance. And I was prepared for this year to be the same, with the exception being the wonderful man I have in my life who reminds me daily how much he loves me.

However, when he asked me about a week and a half ago if I had a house address other than the Post Office Box address I’d given him for Christmas (for those of you who may be wondering, we are in a long distance relationship, about 1,040-ish miles give or take are between us), I didn’t want to get my hopes up because honestly, who knew why he was asking. Yeah Valentine’s Day was coming up, but it has never/wasn’t really on my radar…

But when he started asking me the Monday of Valentine’s Week if I’d gotten any deliveries, I couldn’t stop myself. My interests were peaked and I became giddy with excitement. For the next three days I anticipated seeing something waiting for me when I returned home from work, only to be greeted with nothing. Finally, Thursday during my lunch break, I received an excited text from him that it had been delivered and I added to the excitement as I told him the package I had mailed him had been delivered that day as well! So on a whim, but mostly because he had a 12 hour shift the next day and chances of us talking would be slim, we decided to celebrate a day early.

When I came home from work, this is what I found waiting, cue the waterworks, I was so excited! No one, besides my parents who don’t count in this situation, has given me flowers before!

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Excitedly I sent off a text asking if I could open them or if I had to wait until we got to video chat. He wanted to see my reaction, so I waited – not so patiently – to see the flowers he had picked for me! As I waited, and the anticipation grew, emotions quickly took over me.

While I waited for him to drive home from work so we could video chat, and before I even looked in the box, I loved him more. It didn’t matter to me what kind they were, all that mattered was he picked them out specifically for me. In that moment, I had my first valentine and my heart was overflowing.

He was very adorable on our video chat, I could tell he was anxious to see what I’d sent him, so he opened his first. It was all very simple, but from the heart. Again, not knowing anything other than a low-key Valentine’s Day, I opted for homemade, from the heart, and personalized crafts. He loved them all!

Then it was my turn!! First I found this:

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It’s the envelope that held a very sweet, very personal and heartfelt message. Again, I started to tear up. That lifelong dream of being someone’s Valentine was coming true and it was better than I ever could have imagined. If the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes at Christmas, mine must have burst with love and affection. And then I saw my flowers and words failed me.

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He didn’t just send me flowers, he sent me a dozen of the most beautiful, long stem roses I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t make a coherent thought let alone express out loud how much I loved them! As I was admiring my beautiful bouquet, I smiled as a random quote from the movie “The Perfect Man” popped into my mind:

…a flower like this is perfect, and giving a woman a dozen of them, it’s like saying there is such a thing as perfect. And it’s out there.

Once I put my flowers in water and admired them a few more minutes, we had one wonderful two-hour video chat. I loved that during that time talking and laughing, it somehow felt like the miles weren’t quite so far apart. There are days when it’s hard being so far, but I know in my heart it’s worth it because I knew without a doubt that he is my perfect – our quirks compliment each other and there’s an ease I’ve never felt with anyone else, somehow we just click, – he’s the one I didn’t know I’ve been waiting for.

All weekend I’ve been in this state of utter bliss. I would say I’ve been on Cloud 9, but that’s just not good enough to describe the happiness and love I am blessed to have in my life – it’s more like I’m on my own personal Cloud 1,000 and I have no interest of rejoining the earthlings anytime soon! In fact, I think I’m going to float around on this cloud of mine forever, because when you’re happy and in love, why should you be reduced to walking?!

Oh and my flowers…. here’s what they look like three days later! I’m just going to put this out there – my man did good, he did VERY good! ❤

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DIY Earl of Sandwich Holiday Sandwich

1 Dec

One of the things I miss most about living in Florida is Earl of Sandwich and it’s a stop I always make when I go back to visit my friends and coworkers. Before moving down there I’d never heard of this place, but I was hooked after one night out with friends and a delicious ham and cheese sandwich. And then I was introduced to the Holiday Sandwich and it was like a little piece of heaven between a bun!
20131201-121906.jpg I have talked this sandwich up many times, and even introduced it to my family when they came to visit me in Florida. My dad liked it and I tease him by sending home pictures of my sandwich to which he responds with “bring one home for me!” 20131201-122541.jpg And with thanksgiving leftovers currently filling the refrigerator, we decided to give recreating this delicious sandwich at home a try!

You will need:
• Sub Buns
• Turkey (the photo from Earl of Sandwich is thinly sliced, but we used the leftovers from Thanksgiving)
• Stuffing
• Cranberry Sauce
• Gravy 20131201-123323.jpg There’s no exact measurements of science behind building the sandwich. Start with your sub bun and a layer of turkey. Then put a layer of stuffing and on top of that a thin layer of gravy. 20131201-123936.jpg Next add one more layer of turkey, a layer of cranberry sauce and a tad more gravy and you’ve got it! One at home version of Earl’s Holiday Sandwich! 20131201-124412.jpg I wanted mine flatter like the original sandwich, so we put it in the quesadilla makers for a few seconds (this step it optional). 20131201-125105.jpg 20131201-125341.jpg What do you think, pretty similar, right?! Hope you’ll give this a try sometime this holiday season, I promise, you’ll love it! 20131201-125621.jpg

The birth of a display case

7 Nov

I like to believe I’m a creative person. I dabble in the arts of writing and photography, once a year I dust off my scrapbooks and compile memories of days long gone, and on rare occasion, I have been known to tackle a DIY project or two. So when my boss at work asked me to change out the display case for November I eagerly agreed!

Obviously I decided to do something along the lines of Thanksgiving, but wanting to be politically correct because there may be someone who sees the case who may not celebrate the holiday for whatever reason, I chose to go with “What are you thankful for” because everyone is thankful for something.

Normally our display cases consist of 6 or so informational posters or flyers. Maybe an object or two representing an upcoming event (i.e. we had a 5K shirt to promote our Hospice 5K run/walk in August). But this time I wanted to do something different. Something eye-catching. Something engaging. Something unique.

The only problem, I wasn’t quite sure what that was exactly.

So I did the only thing I could think of to get the ball rolling. I started making a list of all the common things people would be thankful for. And then I started playing around with different ways to display the words in the case and came up with this awesome idea. (**Please note that drawing, and apparently spelling when I’m brainstorming, are not among my strengths.)

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Then I had an even better idea. What if I compiled a bunch of random stuff that represented the words on my list and made little nameplates for what each item represented. No posters needed…. okay, so that’s a lie, the “What are you thankful for” needed to be on a big poster.

IMG_4075And yes, in case you were wondering, those are yellow sticky notes on some of the objects I collected from our office. As I located something that corresponded with a word on my list, I tagged it and crossed it off my list. I obviously had a system going, can’t you tell…because this mess turned into this chaos…

IMG_4077At this point I must share a funny story. My office consists of myself, our director and two other colleagues. Now, when I was coming up with my idea for the display case, I bounced it off one of my co-workers to get her opinion and then I took it to my boss to get her stamp of approval and go-ahead to move forward. If I recall correctly, my other co-worker was out of the office while all of this was taking place. Now, I had spent all morning working on finding objects and making nameplates and folding and taping and arraigning them just so on my little filing cabinet. When I am nearly finished with my preparations and about to pack everything in my bag to set up the display case, this co-worker walks by my desk. She pauses, back-tracks and pauses again, almost as if she’s trying to convince herself she wasn’t really seeing what she thought see was seeing (i.e. a 25 year old labeling things as if she were in preschool). Finally she flat out asks me what I’m doing and I can’t help but laugh as I take in her confused expression as I explain this is going to be a display case…eventually.   

Now I’m not sure if you could tell from my drawing or not (pictured above), but there were some words that I chose to have hanging from strings. These words were ones I decided/discovered were too hard to represent with a physical object because they either meant too many different things to different people or were feelings/milestones. Here’s how they turned out…

IMG_4078Finally it’s time to put it all together! Fingers crossed my poorly executed blueprint looks better in real life! It was fairly easy to assemble and I even had some help from our office intern! Tell me, how do you think we did?

IMG_4079I think it’s good, but the perfectionist in me doesn’t like it so much now. I see ways it could have been better – more color, the hanging circles could have been a bit bigger, some of the objects should have been sitting on boxes of different heights covered by fabric to give it a more interesting look and feel. Oh well, these are all thoughts and suggestions I’ll use to make next month’s display case 100% better!

So tell me, what are you thankful for? Is there something you would have added to my list?

**Side note: Yes, I did notice the nameplate for “employment” is spelled wrong. Unfortunately, I discovered that AFTER I’d taken my photos and was putting the finishing touches on the display case. But not to worry, it was quickly replaced with a correct version and no one was the wiser, well maybe you. 😉

DIY Paint Chip City Silhouettes

5 Oct

**Hello from the past, I’m writing this post on July 31, 2013, but have decided not to post it until October as what I have made today is a birthday surprise for someone special (who I will FINALLY see in person for the first time in 6 months when this finally posts for you to read in 65 days!!)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve A.) been on Pinterest and B.) felt like doing anything crafty. But that all changed today. For a few days now I have been trying to come up with a birthday gift for the special guy in my life when I remembered a pin I had found a few months ago and decided it was worth a try!

So here we go, it was actually pretty easy!

What you’ll need:

  • Paint chips — any color will do! (HIS favorite color is blue and Green is mine, so it was an obvious choice for me!)
  • Picture frame (I choose 8 inches X 10 inches)
  • Print out of the silhouette of the city of your choice — HE’S from Chicago, again obvious choice
  • Tape
  • Paper for the background
  • Scissors
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Glue/Photo splits

Paint chip Skylines1. Start off by taping the paint chips together. For my size frame, it took 5 paint samples across.

IMG_6445aPaint chip Skylines 2. Cut out your skyline and lightly trace it onto the front of your paint chips.

Paint chip Skylines 3. Carefully cut out your paint chip skyline. I had to switch to use very small scissors so I could get some of the details. I also added the Chicago scrip to add some green and a special hidden Mickey (look at the dot on the i)! Then glue it all down onto a solid color background.

IMG_6450a4. Place your new masterpiece into its frame and enjoy!

Paint chip Skylines In all, I really liked how this turned out! And it didn’t take long at all, about an hour total — I probably could have worked faster if I hadn’t also been watching ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars from last night!

This is a project I could see myself recreating many, many times! Many next time I’ll try something with Disney or some of the different places I’ve traveled to on vacation. The possibilities are endless and the paint samples are many!

Happy crafting my friends! Let me know if you decide to make a paint chip skyline of your own, I’d love to know how it turns out!

 

 

 

 

DIY Fabric Birthday Crown

25 Sep

My 25th birthday was on Saturday, September 14th, and to celebrate I decided to do something different. I signed up to run a 5K that morning. More specifically, the Mad Hatter 5K. In the registration, it said that hats were encouraged, but not required. And it got me thinking, if I was going to do this race, I wanted a BIRTHDAY CROWN for my hat! I started looking online for pre-made fabric hats. I found a few that were cute and just what I had in mind. Then I came to my senses and realized a few things:

  1. Those hats were adorable, but they were all the same. I needed something special, something uniquely “me.”
  2. There was NO WAY I was paying $25 PLUS shipping for a fabric crown that MAY OR MAY NOT arrive in time for my race.
  3. Why don’t I use the 10 years of sewing 4H I have under my belt and MAKE MY OWN crown (Genius, I know!)

SOMEONE, QUICK! GET THE CAMERA! AFTER YEARS OF BEING ON SEWING RETIREMENT AND SWEARING SHE WOULD NEVER GO HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH THE SEWING MACHINE AGAIN, SHE’S VOLUNTARILY GOING TO SEW….FOR FUN!  

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, my step by step instructions on how you too can make your one-of-a-kind FABRIC BIRTHDAY CROWN!

You will need (See photo below):

  • Fabric (I used a combination of felt and fleece we had lying around the house from past 4H projects and Halloween costumes)
  • Interfacing (I used a combination of light-weight iron-on and heavy-duty stuff that must be sewn)
  • Cardboard crown from Burger King to use as a sizing template
  • Chalk
  • Printer paper
  • Sewing Machine (unless you are willing to hand sew the whole thing — I sure wasn’t) – Not pictured
  • Straight pins – Not pictured
  • Thread – Not pictured
  • Shape patterns to decorate the crown — pictured further down
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Puffy Paint — pictured further down

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Step 1 (This is going to seem like a lot, but it’s all pictured below):

Use the cardboard crown from Burger King to measure the circumference of your head.  Tape together computer paper until you have the desired length.  Then draw out the design for your crown on the paper. You are creating a pattern to use when cutting out your fabric.

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Step 2:

When you have a design you are happy with on paper, cut it out. Once again, use this pattern to measure around your head. It never hurts to double or triple check the sizing. It took me two paper patterns before I got the sizing perfect for my crown. When you are satisfied, lay it out on your fabric. You can either trace around it with chalk or use pins to keep it in place while cutting. (I used chalk because I didn’t feel like locating straight pins.) You will need two pieces – a front and a back!

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Step 3:

Using the same paper pattern, cut out your interfacing. To make sure my crown was stiff enough to stand on it’s own while it was on my head, I cut out 4 layers of iron-on interfacing (2 for the inside of the front piece and 2 for the inside of the back piece) and 1 layer of the heavy duty sew-on interfacing for the middle layer.

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Step 4:

Carefully iron-on your pieces of interfacing. Don’t make the same mistake I did many years ago when I was first learning to sew. ALWAYS double check that the bumpy beads of glue are against your fabric and NOT the iron — when they melt and stick to the hot surface of the iron you will have a MAJOR mess on your hands. As I mentioned above, I have 4 pieces of iron-on interfacing. I put two on the inside of the front piece and two on the inside of the back piece. (Note: Make sure the interfacing for the front is on the opposite side of the fabric than those for the back, this way they will be on the inside when you sew everything together,)

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Step 5:

Figure out the designs you want on the outside of your crown. My mom cut me these paper patterns using her Cricket and various Cricket cartridges. Lay everything out so you can get the spacing and sizing right.

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Step 6:

You guessed it! Once you have the pattern pieces for the designs for the outside of your crown, it’s time to pin them to the fabric and cut them out. You could also trace using chalk if you’d like.

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Step 7:

Pin the designs (and ribbon if you chose to include some like I did) to the front piece of your crown. You will sew these down BEFORE you sew all the layers of your crown together.

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Step 8:

Carefully top stitch around the designs. Once again, you should be sewing these to the front piece of your crown ONLY. Word to the wise, if you are going through multiple layers of fabric as you see here with my 25 (pink and black), sew those two pieces together FIRST then sew that one piece to the crown. It will make it easier for you to keep everything lined up and provide an extra layer of stitching as reinforcement.

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Step 9:

Time to sew all the layers of your crown together. As seen below in the picture, I have my front piece with decorative designs already sewn down, the middle piece is that heavy-duty interfacing and the bottom piece is the back piece of my crown with the light-weight interfacing side up (this will go on the inside as the other side is yellow to match the front piece).  You will need to stack these pieces together like a sandwich and then pin them securely in place. (See picture 2)

Picture 1

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Picture 2

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Step 10:

Slowly and carefully, sew these three layers together. You may need to take the pins out one at a time as you come up to them with the sewing machine. To make sharp point turns on your crown, stop at the point where you want the corner with the sewing machine needle all the way down into the fabric. Lift the presser foot (the flat silver piece that slides over the fabric) and turn the fabric until you have reached your desired angle, then put the presser foot down and continue sewing. When you have gone all the way around the crown, I recommend back stitching just to reinforce the seam.

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Step 11:

For my crown, I decided the best way to keep it on my head securely during my race was to use Velcro squares. These squares had a sticky, adhesive back that allowed me to position them just right (this took a couple trial and errors before I had the spacing and proper fit for my head). Make sure the pairs of Velcro are on opposite sides of your crown so that when you go to stick them together they will form a circle with the Velcro pieces meeting in the middle of the front and back pieces of your crown. Then I sewed down each individual square because I didn’t want them falling off during my race.

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Step 12:

Now if you think your crown needs a little extra pizzazz, you can decorate it with puffy paint! (See photo) And that’s it! You have yourself one custom made, totally unique, birthday/celebration/because you are royalty and deserve it fabric crown!

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In all, this took me maybe 10 – 12 hours total to make. I worked on it a few hours each night after work the week leading up to the race. I even had it finished a day early so I could take it to work on Friday to show my coworkers who couldn’t fully grasp the craftiness I was trying so desperately to explain.

I hope you’ll give this a try sometime, and when you do, post a link to your photos so I can see how your special crown turned out!

Happy crafting everyone!