Tuesday, July 28, 2015

12 Dresses 12 Months: July

For July I decided to whip up a beach cover-up dress for any days I may find myself heading to the glorious Lake Michigan this summer! The fabric has kind of a linen/towel like texture which makes for a great quick drying dress. So far I've tried it out once and it worked great!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

12 Dresses in 12 Months: June


My June dress was so easy that I feel like I cheated a bit! I used some pre-smocked fabric from Jo-Ann's so all I really had to do was fit it and sew it up. Although, it was a bit more complicated then I thought it would be. It was kind of tricky to fit the bodice correctly without having a big poof in the back. I also had to sew in a slit when I realized I couldn't really walk like a normal person. But all in all, it was a great dress to make for a busy month! And this marks my halfway done point. Wow! Only six more to go.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Watercolor Doodles




Recently I've been OBSESSED with watercolor doodles. My journal is now almost filled with little faces, monsters, creatures, designs, you name it. I first saw the idea for watercolor people here and was immediately intrigued. Basically, you just do a blob of watercolor paint, wait for it to dry, and then doodle on top of it with a sharpie. And it is so enjoyable. It is seriously the best activity to do late at night when your brain is tired, first thing in the morning when you want a brain jump start, in the afternoon...ok, ok, you get it. It is simply the most fun I've had with watercolor and a sharpie for a long time!

Here are some more of my favorites:



Monday, May 25, 2015

12 Dresses in 12 Months: May



I had this floral dress cut out since January but finally got around to sewing it up this month. And with its sunny disposition, I think it is perfect for May! It is a standard shift pattern with a cotton floral print and a stretch fabric for the arms. I sewed it all up in a couple hours so I think I'm getting the hang of this dressmaking (although, I did accidentally sew one sleeve on incorrectly two times...).

And who is this lovely lady in the picture with me? It is my sister-in-law showcasing her own DIY dress that we worked on together. It is the same pattern but she used a two-sided knit (the same I used for my February dress) and also added in pockets! Too cute!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Watercolor Painting: A Beginner's Approach



I'm pretty sure that the last time I really painted with watercolors was in high school. And I absolutely hated it. It was so hard to control my water supply and I ended up with mottled paintings that never came close to resembling what object I was trying to paint. So for years I've avoided it by staying with acrylics and oils. There I found forgiveness for my mistakes for I could always just add another layer to cover any rash decisions I happened to make with my paint brush.

But I found that acrylics and oils often deterred me from painting because of the set up time. I don't have the space in my apartment to keep all of my art supplies out all the time. So when I do want to paint, I generally have to spend quite a bit of time setting everything up. And that is just enough work to deter me from starting.  Then, I met a new friend that was really into watercolors. On a trip we took to California, she actually painted in the car with a little watercolor set that she had! So I decided that maybe I had been too hard with my high school critique of watercolors.

For Christmas, my sister gifted me with an adorable travel size watercolor set and a some watercolor paper postcards. And so I gave it a try...and LOVED IT! Yes, I do occasionally end up with mushy paintings with too much water, but overall I've been so pleased with my little paintings. I also picked up a watercolor sketchbook and also a slightly bigger brush to help me experiment a little bit more. I've even watched some Youtube videos to help me with different techniques. Mostly, though, I've just been enjoying the play and experimentation that it allows me have.

So in case you, too, have been avoiding watercolor painting for whatever reason..I encourage you to give it a try! You may just find that you love it!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Obligatory Feet in Lake Michigan Post



After waiting for about three years, I finally got to put my feet into Lake Michigan again! I was so sad to leave the lake when I moved to Oregon three years ago. Yes, I did have the amazing and awe inspiring Pacific Ocean in my not-quite-backyard..but it just doesn't compare for this Michigander! I love Lake Michigan so much that one year I was actually swimming in it from April through November! It was a bit cold but it was definitely worth it. I'm in Michigan currently for a few more months so I can't wait to spend as much of my summer as I can swimming!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

12 Dresses in 12 Months: April

I found this adorable floral print at my favorite local fabric store for only $1.99! It was quite thin so I decided that April would be a good month to try lining a dress for the first time. I picked up some silk-like fabric on sale and decided that I'd give it a try for the lining. I used a basic shift dress pattern so it wouldn't get too complicated while I focused on the lining. 

I spent a great Friday night working on this dress, drinking wine, and listening to episode after episode of a new podcast, Invisibilia, that my brother-in-law told me about! It was a delightful evening!

The neckline got a bit wonky on this dress so I will probably do that a bit differently the next time around. But overall, this dress is comfortable and cute so obviously a success! Oh, and I think it is the cheapest dress I've made to date so that is always nice...

Thanks for traveling on my dress making journey with me!  It has been so fun and I'm learning a ton about sewing. The hardest part is that I'm about 2200 miles away form my sewing machine right now (it is a long story) so I'm at the mercy of other people sharing their sewing machines with me! Although, people have been very generous so I really can't complain too much.

I am stuck on an idea for May so send me any ideas if you have any!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Salted Chocolate Dipped Oranges



A couple weeks ago, I saw a picture of oranges dipped in chocolate and had been craving them ever since. So I gathered my giant list of ingredients and got to it. Here is what I did:

Peel mandarin oranges. Melt chocolate. Dip orange slices in chocolate. Sprinkle with salt. 

And that is it, folks! Try not to eat them all in one sitting...

Friday, March 27, 2015

12 Dresses in 12 Months: March


I have been wanting to make a red buffalo plaid dress for quite some time so I decided March was the time! I also decided to step up my challenge by learning how to insert a zipper and how to attach a collar. I watched quite a few Youtube videos to see the best way to do both of these things. My final product is not perfect by any means, but I am pretty happy with my first time doing both of those things!

Monday, February 23, 2015

12 Dresses in 12 Months: February

So as I said before, I'm challenging myself to make 12 dresses in 12 months. For February, I found a pattern from Joanns that I thought would be fun to try. Similar to January, I found a knit that was two sided which I liked because it was thick enough that I didn't need to mess with a liner. Maybe that will be a March challenge (gulp).

When I got home, I noticed that I had accidentally gotten the 14-22 size instead of the normal range of sizes. Boo! I ended up having to take it in significantly and adjust the length of the hem quite a bit. I'm planning on taking in the sides a bit more in the future so the bodice will be a bit more fitted. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It is super comfy which is always a plus! And it has pockets!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Orange Cranberry Breakfast Bread


This picture isn't great...but the recipe sure is!

I made this delicious bread the other day for a family brunch. It had the perfect density, moistness, and sweetness. Mmm! Head over here to get the recipe!

Monday, February 16, 2015

12 Dresses in 12 Months: January


 I've been wanting to challenge myself this year with learning how to sew clothes. And what better way then to make 12 dresses in 12 months!  Here is my January dress. I used this great two way fabric from Joanns. On one side it was stripes and the other was polka dots. I decided to use the stripes for the body of the dress and then used the polka dots for the sleeves. I also added pockets which was a new skill to learn. There are a few things I would change but overall I am very pleased with how it turned out!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blue and Red Envelope Pillow



My mom mentioned that she had been wanting some new pillows to match her red couch. I found this fabric at Joanns and thought it was oh so pretty! I made two envelope pillow cases and gave them to her for Christmas. Envelope pillows are so handy--now she can easily wash the fabric or even change the fabric up for different seasons if she wants to.  Head over here to the DIY instructions that I wrote up from a past project.

Here is the other side that shows off the envelope style pillow case:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stenciled Baby Onesies





I don't know why I don't stencil more often. It so fun especially on baby onesies. I used some stencils from Lotta Jansdotter's book but also made a few of my own...like the dinosaur! How cute is that?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Felt Paper Dolls




I absolutely loved paper dolls when I was little but I always ended up breaking off those little tabs on the clothes.  I saw this idea here and instantly saw its perfection: the felt clothes just stick on the bodies...no tabs necessary! I whipped up my own little set and also made a little envelope that she can keep her dolls and clothes in. Pretty adorable, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Whale Stuffed Animal




I have two little nieces that I really wanted to make whale stuffed animals for. I saw a couple of different ideas but ended up using this pattern and shrinking it down a bit so they could fit in my suitcase! I think they turned out super cute and can't wait to see my nieces snuggled up with their new whale friends!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Adjustable Kid's Apron




I have a four year old nephew who loves John Deere and also loves to help his mom in the kitchen. So (obviously) I decided to make him a John Deere apron for Christmas. As you can see in the picture, I made the straps and neck piece connected so it can be adjusted as he grows up. I'm so happy with how this turned out and can't wait to see how cute he is with it on!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Felt Tools and Toolbelt




My brother is really good with woodworking and fixing things so I thought it would be pretty cute to make a felt tool set for his son. I was really happy with how these turned out. So much so that I forced all my coworkers to look at pictures of them...

I pretty much used this set as a guide for the tools and just whipped up the belt with trial and error. If anyone is interested in a how-to I can definitely add in some instructions.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche





This may be my new favorite recipe. I only begrudgingly shared it with my husband. 
Head over here to find out how to make your own!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Christmas Envelope Pillow





I made this little Christmas envelope pillow for my aunts and am very pleased with how it turned out. I think it is so cute! Head over here to the DIY instructions that I wrote up from a past project.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Little Pom Pom Bunny




I made this little bunny for my friend Molly. Isn't it so adorable? 
The original idea came from here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Delicious Sugar Cookie Recipe



A friend posted a link about how good these cookies were so I figured I'd better give them a try. And...she was totally right. Delicious! And yes, that is the array of random cookie cutters that I own. A dinosaur, a cow, the state of Michigan, and a flower. Nothing says Christmas like a dinosaur!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crockpot Vegetarian Lasagna


I really love my crock-pot. It makes cooking so easy. I saw this recipe here and figured I would give it a try. I liked it so much that I've now made it three more times in roughly a month. Mmm...maybe I'll make up a batch right now...

Here is what you need:

24 oz. jar tomato pasta sauce
9 long lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 1/2 cups chopped veggies
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
15 oz. container Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 egg

Here is what you need to do:

1. In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese, egg, and ricotta cheese. Reserve 1/4 cup of shredded cheese for the very top.

2. Saute veggies with olive oil and minced garlic for about 3-5 minutes. Add one jar pasta sauce with the veggies. Take off heat.

3. Spread about a fourth of the veggie sauce mixture on the bottom of crock-pot. Add a layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking them apart to fit if needed. Spoon on 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Layer more sauce, another layer of noodles, the remainder of the ricotta cheese mixture, more sauce, more noodles, and the last of the sauce. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

4. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours or on HIGH 2-3 hours.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bob Marley Finger Puppet


As I've mentioned before, I really love making finger puppets. They are just so adorable. I usually stick to making animals or vegetables but recently I've been delving into making puppets based on people. I have a coworker who loves Bob Marley so I decided to try and make her a little Bob Marley puppet! Turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Carmelized Pear Steel Oats


Let me just say that this recipe is amazing. I don't know why I don't caramelize fruit more often.

Here is what you need:
3/4 cup steel cut oats, dry
1.5 cups water
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 pears (peeled and chopped)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Here is what you need to do:

  1. For the oats: Bring 1.5 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling add a pinch of salt then your oats. Swirl to coat then cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the oats are tender.
  2. For the pears: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once bubbling, add brown sugar and stir. Then immediately add in pears, cinnamon, and vinegar and stir to coat. Cover the pears and cook for 10 or so minutes. Once tender, remove the lid for several more minutes then remove from heat.
  3. Divide oats between two bowls and top with equal servings of pears. 
Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles



 I saw this recipe a couple weeks ago and was so intrigued. I am not actually the biggest fan of spicy food but I thought the chocolate and cayenne combination could be pretty tasty. And it was! The heat of the cayenne was just the perfect amount to give it a complex flavor. 

Here is what you need:

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp almond milk

For the topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Here is what you need to do:
 
1. First off, preheat the oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, cayenne, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla and milk. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wets and mix thoroughly until the batter is stiff.

3. Using the palm of your hands, roll about 3 tbsp worth of batter into a small ball. Press the ball into the sugar-cinnamon topping until slightly flattened. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, place each cookie about 2 inches apart.

4. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Men's Kitchen Apron

Awhile back, my brother asked me if I would make him a woodworking apron and also a kitchen apron. I love making things for people so I was super happy that he asked me! I shared the woodworking apron here and thought I'd share the kitchen apron today. 


I found this kitchen appliance fabric and then used some maroon fabric that I already had in my giant fabric stash. I made a pattern up by using a brown paper bag, my willing-to-be-a-model husband, and an apron that I had made previously.  I doubled up the fabric so it is sturdy and I even added in a little pocket. It came together nicely and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Here is a close up:


Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Focus: Recommended Books





As I said in October, I got so many great recommendations from my friends that I decided to do the same theme for November. Here is what I read:

Read: Restoration
Read: The Last Unicorn
Read: The Light Between Oceans
Read:  The Things They Carried
Reading:Killing Yourself to Live


I'm not entirely sure what my theme for December will be but I'm leaning towards translated books! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vegan Baked Apple Spice Oatmeal

I've been a believer in oatmeal bakes ever since I made this recipe. Recently, I've been flirting with the idea of eliminating dairy products from my diet so when I saw this recipe here I figured I could make it vegan really easily. I eliminated the butter from the recipe and substituted almond milk for regular milk....and it is SO good. The recipe makes a lot and it is so hearty. So far we have had it for breakfast two times and I'm thinking we'll be able to have it at least two more times! 



Here is what you need:

4 cups almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups peeled and chopped apples
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

What you need to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Stir occasionally until the mixture is well combined then stir in the remaining ingredients.
4. In a lightly sprayed 2-quart casserole dish, pour the oatmeal into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 45 minutes.

Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Best Breakfast Potatoes



We've been getting a lot of potatoes from our CSA box recently, and along with them have come some pretty good looking recipes. We whipped these up for Saturday breakfast and instantly knew this recipe would be put in the remake pile. So good!

What you need:

2 lbs potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 big bell pepper, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 stick butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt & pepper

What you need to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.

2. Pour the potato mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan twice. Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 15-20 minutes, tossing twice.

3. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Focus: Recommended Books


For October I decided to read only books that people recommended to me. I asked for suggestions on Facebook and got an influx of great book ideas! So many, in fact, I may need to dedicate November to this theme as well.  Plus I really really enjoyed all of these books...obviously my friends have great taste!

Here is what I read:

Read: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Read: Longbourn
Read: The Illustrated Man
Read: The Twentieth Wife 
Read: The Rook
Reading: Outlander
Reading: Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

I've always been wary about squash soup but after making this recipe...I'll never make that mistake again! This butternut squash soup is amazing. The perfect balance of flavors and the perfect creamy texture. Mm!



What you need:

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
4 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 package 8 oz cream cheese

What you need to do:

1. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Stir in onions until tender.
2. In a crock-pot, add in onions and all the other ingredients except for the cream cheese.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Using a blender or food processor, blend the soup mixture until smooth. Return the soup to the crock-pot and stir in the cream cheese. Cover and cook on low for about 30 more minutes. Stir with whisk until smooth.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Focus: Kurt Vonnegut



I love Kurt Vonnegut. To be honest, though, it did take me until college to really appreciate him. I tried to read Breakfast of Champions in high school and was just not ready for it. Then I started reading him heavily during the summer of 2007 and really connected with him. I loved his writing style and I loved his ultimate message of people needing to be kinder to each other. Recently, I'd been thinking about him again so I dedicated September to be all about Vonnegut.

Here is what I read:

Slaughterhouse-Five  (reread)
Letters (first read)
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (reread)
Galapagos (first read)
Drawings (first read)

I also really wanted to reread Breakfast of Champions but the library was not cooperating with me!