Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wine Party Wreath

Every year my parents have a "Open That Bottle Night." In the past it's just been a wine tasting party, but this year everyone brought a pairing for their wine. Well anyway, it's a blast and my parents do a great job. This year I though I'd put together a wreath for their party. They've been collecting wine corks for who knows how long...

Mom had them in a beautiful glass container on the counter for awhile, but has apparently gotten tired of that. So, I asked if I could take them and make her a wreath to hang on the door the night of her party. I picked up a wreath form, burlap, and some straight pins.

First, I wrapped the wreath in burlap to hide that darling green foam. Then I stuck pins (pointy side) into the corks. I pushed the flat part of the pin through the burlap and into the wreath form. I wanted it to look more interesting than a bunch of corks glued in the shape of a circle. I stuck them straight out to look similar to a sunburst mirror (well...maybe it just looks like that to me...I'm pretty imaginative :) ).

  After about the fourth row of corks, I couldn't put the corks in straight. They had to go on at an angle ( I did not do this in one sitting. It was too boring to do more than a little bit at a time.) The next two rows I stuck the pin at an angle on the back of the cork and stuck them in my wreath form.
 I made this burlap "vino" strip to go across my wreath. It was better looking in my head. On the wreath it just looked dumb.
So, here is the finished project (on my door, not the parents'):

It looked much lovelier against their beautiful wood door. Can you believe I did all that without pricking myself once with a straight pin? Woohoo!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Stunt Man" T-Shirt

I saw the idea for this t-shirt somewhere out in blogland. I can't seem to find where anymore! It is adorable though. They got the "stunt man" saying from a shirt at crewcuts.

It is a super quick gift to make for a wild little boy. At Hobby Lobby I picked up some iron-on letters. Then I stopped at Old Navy for a cute striped tee (on sale!). All you have to do is follow the directions on the package. I set my letters upside down to spell out "stunt man." Next I carefully held the iron on them for 15 seconds. Then I turned it inside out and held the iron on the backside for 15 seconds.


Fun, huh?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Headboard: Part I

 <---I have this...
but I want this--->

The headboard/footboard we have is my husband's from when we merged (I had a full, he had a queen. He won that one.) It is a mission style...which is not my style. So, for awhile now I've had my eye on this guy from PB.  Unfortunately, the price tag on one of those is a little steep.
Enter my husband and father-in-law:

I showed them what I wanted (a queen size Raleigh headboard from Pottery Barn) and they got the measurements and headed to Home Depot.
Their supplies included:
2 4'x8' pieces of plywood at 5/8" thick
2 4"x10' pieces of pine at 1/2" thick
2 6"x 6' pieces of pine at 1/2" thick
Finishing nails (quite a few)
Wood glue

First, they did some cutting. Both boards of plywood were cut from 8 ft to 6ft 3in. One of the large boards was cut on the other direction from 4 ft to 3ft. Both 4"x10' pieces were cut down to 2 4"x4'5" boards each.That is four total pieces.One 6"x6' piece was cut down to a 6"x5'3" board. The other was cut down to a 6"x4'7" board.
Phew...that's confusing. Let me tell you what you should have now.
1 5'3"x4' plywood
1 5'3"x3' plywood
4 4"x4'5" pieces
1 6"x4'7" piece
1 6"x5'3" piece
 Now you are ready for glue and nails. They laid the 2 pieces of plywood down with the matching 5'3" sides together. The 4' piece was at the top of the headboard and the 3' piece was at the bottom (with the idea that the seam would be behind the mattress...although it will be covered in fabric...). The 6"x5'3" was glued across that seam and then nailed into place. The other one was placed on the 4' piece of plywood flush with the top edge of the headboard. Shown below:
Use wood glue for that one and then nail it down as well. Next they put a 4"x4'5" piece butted at a right degree angle to the top board. They did that on both sides. Those were glued down and nailed. For extra support (because of my *future*adorable nailhead trim), they added the other two 4"x4'5" boards, one on top of each of the others.

Whoa...have you followed me so far? After all that was finished, we drew on the curve we wanted at the top. My father-in-law trimmed it off with his jigsaw. Finally, he sanded it with a belt sander across the top to make the curve smooth.

Aren't they handy? My dad said, "I see your minion pool is growing.." Uh oh! That could ruin my excuse for not being as good as Martha!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cleopatra by Stacy Shiff

This book is fabulous! I learned so much. Whenever I heard Cleopatra I just pictured a dark-haired temptress being fed grapes (lame I know). Stacy Shiff will totally change what you thought you knew about Cleopatra. Her biography is brilliantly written (not surprising..she has won a Pulitzer Prize before).

It took me awhile to get through it. I was looking on maps and looking up names. A weekend will not be enough time to finish this book. Once you are through though, you will be glad you took the time.

Speaking of books...
My mom got me a cute little book of opening lines from famous books for Valentine's Day.
See if you can guess where these lines came from:

1. "Who is John Galt?"
2. " Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
3. "Letter One
To Mrs. Saville, England
St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th 17--
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."
4. "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day."
5. "Call me Ishmael."
6. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
7. "When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen."
8. "I am an invisible man."

Okay guys... how much have you read? :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Another Chicken Dinner

Yep...I'm making chicken...again
Chicken Pot Pie
 Your ingredients:
1 cup peeled carrots cut into bite size pieces
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup frozen corn (thawed)
2 tbsp butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in bite size pieces
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup  flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine (NOT riesling)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tbsp parsley (I just use dried...I sorta killed my parsley plant last year)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust

First you're going to bring a pot of water to a boil. Throw in your peas and carrots for about 3 minutes. Drain your peas and carrots, but keep the boiling water. Next, you throw in your corn for just a minute. Drain it as well and set all three aside.
Heat up your oven to 400 degrees.
In a pretty big frying pan, heat up your butter (medium-high heat). Once it is melted, add the chicken. Cook the chicken until it is browned (takes about 10 minutes).
Add the garlic and onion and cook until they are softened.
Stir in your flour.
Add the stock (which Martha probably would have actually made fresh), wine, half-and-half, and parsley. Stir them all together and bring to a simmer. Then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let it cook together for 10 minutes.
While that is cooking together, roll out your pie crust (again...Martha would've made this from scratch) and brush the egg yolk mixture around the edges.
Once your ten minutes is up, pour the contents of the frying pan into a 9 inch pie dish. Put your pie crust on top, egg side down. Crimp the edges and remove excess dough. Finally brush the top of crust with remaining egg mixture and cut two little slits in the top.
Bake your pie for 30 minutes. Then it should look like this:


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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo Valentine

The idea for this photo valentine comes from none other than The Queen of Crafting (Martha of course). I'm pretty sure it was under ideas for kids. It's perfect for grown-ups too! I made it for my honey last year.
 All you need is three posterboards, some pink and red construction paper, and heart doilies. I like it because it's a little squirrely, just like me.
Fold it up and add a ribbon (is it just me or does ribbon make everything prettier?)!
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Subway Art

Here goes nothing...I'm going to make my first piece of "Subway Art." I don't have a Cricut or Silhouette (only in my dreams), so I'm going old school.
 First I painted my board white. Afterwards I gathered up leftover alphabet stickers from other projects. I started to spell out the street names on the board using the alphabet stickers. Then I just painted over them in black.
 You can't see it that well (grr to my cruddy camera)....
 One section I painted red. It has the cheesy phrase "my heart" instead of a street name. Once my paint was pretty much dry, I peeled off the stickers using tweezers.
I thought I would be frustrated by the imperfections...but surprisingly I really like that every last letter isn't straight and perfect. This guy is for my sister for Valentine's Day. I put a few street addresses around town and then "my heart" to remind her that no matter where she lives she is always there. Cheesy, huh? It's okay my sister and I are too. :)
Hmm...I sorta want one in our guest bath, over the toilet that says all the different names for potty. That's sorta weird of me, isn't it?

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Dressing the Couch

Our couch is so boring. Nearly everything in my living room is brown or cream or camel.
I like having a neutral couch, but I need some fun pillows.
 Here's some fun options I found on Etsy:

  Okay..that is brown too....

I'm loving the Chevron print right now. You really should go and check out some of the options on Etsy. You'd be surprised what people come up with and create!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cardinal to Kitchen Lamp

The lampshade finally came!!! It's finished and ready to share. Well, I didn't take the wrapping off yet...I'm hoping I picked the right shade..I've just gotta look at it for a bit. I do like how fat it looks (if that makes any sense). Hmm.. a little stream of conciousness for ya!

Here's Dad's advice on putting the lamp kit in:
"To drill the wood block, the key is to center the hole, then drill perpendicular to the base, so that the lamp kit tube remains perfectly vertical. This was done using a drill guide and a wood boring bit, just slightly larger diameter than the lamp kit tube. The reason you don't want the hole drilled too much larger is that it must be kept perpendicular to the base of the wood block... too much larger than the tube, and the lamp kit assembly might get loose and angle away from vertical, making the lamp look more like the leaning tower of Pisa..."

The ridiculous weather has finally abated. I was able to run to Dollar Store and grab some frames for my nursery typography art.
Anyone else think I need a new camera? I mean a lot of times with electronics and I, it's a user error. I'm starting to think it's my camera though....

One final note:
Green Bay Packers, please please please win today! My husband is already anxious and we have five hours to go before this game even starts.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nursery Typography

My neighbor's baby boy is almost here! For a welcome home gift, I am making them some wall art for their nursery. They are decking theirs out with a sailing theme.
First, I printed out a classic nursery rhyme:
I saw a ship a-sailing, a-sailing on the sea,
And oh but it was laden with pretty things for thee.
There were comfits in the cabin
And apples in the hold.
The sails were made of silver
And the masts were made of gold.
over and over and over in varying shades of blue (Erik says it looks like waves that sweet for him to feign interest) on cardstock.
Then I cut out three sailboats using five different red and blue papers. I rubbed the edges of each piece of "sailboat" with my brown ink pad to give it a sort of shadowy effect.
Finally, I put them on the cardstock with little foam stickies to make them stand out.

 One problem: I can't go get little frames from the dollar store to paint red when our street is an ice-skating rink!This weather is insane. I'm getting a little stir crazy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An English Teacher's Baby Shower

Our department threw a baby shower for Sara, another English teacher. Instead of doing the same old typical baby shower, we asked that everyone bring Sara their favorite children's book. This way she could build a library for miss Ziva (her baby girl).
 I was in charge of making the invitations. These supplies (Martha paper stack, Martha bunny punch and "It's a Girl" ribbon) were all I needed besides some vellum. I love this little stack-there's a baby boy one as well. The paper stack was perfect because the size was just right and I liked the fact that almost every invitation could be different (but all still coordinted of course!). Oh, plus it had bunnies and the nursery was being done in bunnies.
 The wording on the invites is:

        Once upon a time...
there was a mommy-to-be named
           Mother's Name
who was expecting somebunny special
        Location, time...etc.
Please bring you favorite children's book..
Oddly enough, no one brought the same book! I've also seen a birthday party for a toddler where they only wanted to receive books. Their invitation was made to look like a borrower's card from the library. It was super cute!