Sunday, January 29, 2012

Office Chair Face Lift

Anyone have a boring old office chair that needs a face lift? My office chair was plain, simple, and boring. Case in point.....


Nothing special, ordinary chair.

Now, don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with a boring office chair. I had one for ages. But, I finally decided it was time for change. Time to update it's look and make it a bit more personal.

So, I purchased some fabric.


I'm in love with chevron stripes right now!

This fabric is Dear Stella Palladium Chevron in Yellow. The colors in my office / guest bedroom are greens, yellows, and purple. I know that might sound weird, but they are all really pretty together. (I'll have to post a picture of the room later.)

So, I decided to recover my office chair with this beautiful and fun fabric! It was really easy and took me about 30 minutes to do. For this project you don't need much and it's very inexpensive! 

All you'll need is some fabric of your choice, a philips head screw driver, and a staple gun.


Later I actually used a flat head screw diver to help get the back of the chair back onto the cushion. (Please ignore the fact that the screw diver's end is a bit chewed off. Our dogs were puppies once!)

It was easy to take apart my chair. Just make sure you don't loose your screws!


After unscrewing my chair, I used the screw driver to pop off the backs of the chair cushions.

Then, I just took my fabric and stapled it around the edges of my seat cushions. It was a little tricky because the seats are a bit curved, plus of course the corners. I just tried to fold my fabric the best I could without letting it crease. I do have some creases, but they are very small and you can't really see them. (They aren't really noticeable, so I don't mind!) 
I'm really happy with the finished look!


Much better! Don't ya think?! The stripes are so cute and I LOVE the way it turned out!





Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Newest Sewing Project

As you can see...I've been playing around on my blog again. I've finally found a look that I LOVE! I hope y'all like it too. I promise there won't be many more changes, there's just a few more little items I'm trying to figure out how to make them work. But for now, this is the look I'm sticking with!

I'm sure most of you saw this on Facebook last week, but I finally finished my first sewing project! I made a pillow case -- which is probably the easiest thing ever -- and I couldn't be more proud of my accomplishment! (You gotta start somewhere...right?!)

Well, I was so excited to make this pillow case that I kinda forgot to take pictures along the way. I remember this at the end of the project, so you'll only get one picture of my progress.

I found this fabric on Modern Fabric Studio a few weeks ago. It's called bird paisley in scarlet and can be seen here.


I loved the birds and flowers in this fabric. 

I found this easy tutorial and decided I'd give it a try. My pillow is 18", so I cut my fabric 18" by 40".  On each end of the rectangle, I folded the fabric over and hemmed it. Then, I folded my fabric (right sides facing each other) on top of each other. I kept a 3 1/2" overlap of the fabric for the back side of the fabric.


Here's the only picture I got while making my pillowcase.

Then, I just sewed up the ends! Super easy. After sewing it together, I turned my pillowcase right-side out, and inserted the pillow.


It turned out so pretty! I couldn't be happier. :)


The finished look!

Do you have an easy/fun sewing project you'd like to share? I've got a few more projects in mind that I'm planning on doing soon, but I'm still looking for more things to make!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I promised to share another easy recipe for y'all so here's one that's easy and super yummy. I figured I don't have much longer to make soup but wanted to share this one with you before it was too late. I don't have pictures of this soup, but it can be made in about 30 minutes or, you can dump everything in the crock pot and let it cook for a few hours.

The original recipe can be found here.

Here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup butter
1/2 chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup flour
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken stock (I used bouillon cubes + boiling water)
1/2 lb broccoli, chopped ( I use a bag of frozen broccoli)
1 cup carrot, chopped ( again, I used chopped frozen carrots)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces grated Colby jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

*Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour, stirring constantly. Add in the half and half, milk, and chicken stock. Bring to almost a boil.

(If you use frozen broccoli and carrots, they need to be cooked before adding them to the soup.) Now, add the broccoli and carrots.

Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Season the soup with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the cheeses and let simmer for 10 minutes longer before serving.

*If you'd prefer you can just stick everything in the crockpot and let it cook for several hours, or until bubbly -- if you cook the soup this way you can dump the frozen broccoli and carrots in without having the cook them prior.)

 This is an easy soup and is really good!! Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Party Recipes

I told ya I would be sharing a couple of recipes that I used from the baby shower. One is a new recipe that i just found and the other is a tried and true recipe that I've used a lot. Both of which are very yummy!

The first is the homemade hot chocolate recipe. I found this recipe through Pinterest (I love Pinterest!). I knew I wanted to use it for the shower because part of our theme was snowflakes...and what goes better with snow and cold weather than hot chocolate?!  This is really good hot chocolate, very creamy and sweet! :)

Here's what you'll need: (recipe originally from Mrs. Happy Homemaker found here.)

1.5 cups heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz)
2 cups milk chocolate chips (I used a whole bag)
6 cups of milk  (I used 2% milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract



Pour each of the ingredients in to your crock pot. The recipe I got this from said it needed to cook on low for about 2 hours. I found that I needed to turn it on high after about an hour because I wasn't cooking quite as fast as I needed it to. So mine cooked for about 2.5 hours (1.5 on high). While it's cooking you'll need to stir it on occasion. 

This served about 9 people with a good amount left over. (We drank it out of tea cups instead of mugs.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The second recipe is one that I've used several times. If you know me, you know I love cupcakes! If I can find an excuse, I make them. When I make cupcakes, or cakes, I don't like to use canned icing - yuck. (Maybe that's a little harsh, but you get the idea...homemade icing wins every time.) It makes all the difference in the world! And I must say, whenever I make this icing I get tons of compliments!

Here's my recipe for my icing:

1/2 cup shortening
1 stick butter (softened)
4 cups confections' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bow with your mixer on low.

I found that this recipe is great! It's soft enough to decorate your cupcakes, or cake, and stiff enough to stay put once it's iced. It's the perfect combination!



This makes enough icing for a dozen cupcakes. (Plus a little extra.)

I don't have any fancy cake decorating piping bags or fancy tips. I just use a plastic bag, cut the end, dump in the icing into the bag and begin to decorate my cupcakes! It's so easy to do -- I think easier than taking a knife and spreading it on....plus it looks prettier! 
And don't forget to top your cupcakes with sprinkles! :)

Enjoy!

I promised to share another recipe this week...so that will be my next post! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baby Shower!

As you can see, I decided to change things up a bit on my blog this weekend. I hope you like the change! It's not much, but I'm still trying to figure out this blogging thing...

Also, before I talk about the baby shower, I want to say thank you to all who's said they are thinking of my family in their prayers. I appreciate all the comments, thoughts, and prayers...thank you so much!

I know I had a small sneak peak of Lindsey's shower earlier in the week and I'm so excited to share the details of the evening with you! It was so much fun catching up with friends and some Mom's I haven't seen in a long time. I'm not going to talk much this post about the shower, but I'll let the pictures tell the story. (Thanks to Kelly for the great pictures!)


Remember the banner I mentioned before? It turned out so cute!


The Mom-to-be! Isn't she adorable?! I hope I look that good when I'm 8 months pregnant!


Me with Lindsey


Remember my strawberry brownie cupcakes I made? Yep. I made them again! 


I made homemade hot chocolate for the shower! We had a mini hot chocolate bar for all the guests.


Yum.


Presents!


Gotta love pink and ruffles! Yay for sweet baby girls!


I've been so blessed with some wonderful friends in my life and I'm so thankful for each of them!


I hope everyone had a great weekend! I've got some recipes from the shower I'll share with you later!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sneak Peak and Product Review

I'm so excited for the weekend! I'm helping throw a shower for one of my very best friends! Lindsey and I have been friends since we were 5. I've grown up with her through elementary, middle, high school, college, we were in each other's weddings, and now the next step....babies! She's the first of my friends to have a baby and I couldn't be more excited.


I'm going to give you a small sneak peek for her shower on Saturday. Lindsey is doing grays, yellows, and pinks in her nursery, so I knew I wanted to include that somehow in her shower. She also painted some adorable gray stripes for the nursery. My sister is a graphic designer and designs invitations on Etsy. I told her some my ideas for the invitations and theme of the shower and she came up with the most adorable invitation! With her shop, you buy an invitation design, she'll then personalize it for you, email it to you, and you can print as many as you need! It's so easy, and an affordable way to get some special invitations and party goodies.


These are invitations that my sister designed for me! Aren't they adorable?! 
You can find her shop HERE.

Our theme for the shower is gray, pink, and snowflakes. Allison also designed a banner, and some favor circles for us that match the invitations. Here you can see me preparing the banner!


I used my Fiskars paper cutter to cut out my invitations and banner. This was a Christmas present from my lovely brother (well...he gave me a gift card to Amazon and the paper cutter was purchased with the gift card....). I'd been needing a paper cutter and had searched around a bit and found that this cutter was highly recommended. I love this thing! You can't tell it in the picture, but there is a small string in the cutting area, so you can tell exactly where you are lining your paper up to be cut! That is a really nice feature, especially if you cut items that aren't straight squares or rectangles. This cutter is about $20, but is worth every penny! You can buy your own HERE.


After this weekend, I'll give you the full details of the shower and show you how everything turned out!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prayer Request

I'm sorry I've been MIA and not posting anything the last few days. Last week was a crazy week, and a bit emotionally draining. A few months ago, my great Uncle Don was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, but his cancer is actually mostly in the bones of his leg. My Uncle is 80+, but when he found out he had cancer he knew he wanted to do whatever he could to battle it. He's been going through chemo treatments and it's been very hard on him as well as my Dad. (He's been taking on a great deal of the responsibility in caring for him, taking him to and from his treatments, and doctor appointments.) I know it's been hard on my Dad seeing my Uncle Don like this, but he's done everything he can for him. Recently, my Uncle broke his leg (thankfully my Dad was there when it happened and was able to help take care of him), and has been in rehab to help heal it. (He is now out of rehab and is at home.)

Last week, during a strange turn of events my Grandmother Hill went into the hospital to check on her head (we thought she might have fallen), after a few X-rays of her head and chest, some spots were found on both of her lungs. They decided to biopsy the spots to find out what exactly was going on. Last Wednesday, we found out that the biopsy showed these spots are lung cancer. After talking it over, it was decided to not try to have my Grandmother have to go through chemotherapy. This was very difficult news to hear.

So, I ask you to please pray for my Grandmother, my Uncle Don, my Dad and the rest of my family during this difficult time.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Full Speed Ahead!

I've been super busy this week! I've subbed 4 out of 5 days. When I sub it makes for super long days because I work for the after school care program at MA as well. So, that's a full day of being with the kiddos in the classroom PLUS two more hours of after school care with even more kids! Whenever I sub 3 days or more a week, I'm always so tired by the end of the day.

Subbing is great, but is really up and down. Most weeks, I'll know pretty much when I'll be working, but it's pretty common to get asked to come in the next day or that morning because a teacher can't be there. It's nice to have a bit of a flexible schedule, but at the same time it's hard to work some days and not others because my body is never used to a set schedule! And TRUST me, it takes a lot out of you to work all day in a classroom full of kids! Especially when you you walk in that morning to pick up where the day before left off, in terms of jumping right in to lessons (which you have to wing) as well as schedules and routines that are different for each class! Subbing definitely keeps you on your toes!

Even though I worked most days this week, it doesn't mean I don't get a brake when I come home. I've still got to cook and clean. (Honestly, I don't know how working moms do this....) And let me tell you, when I come home to my kitchen I've learned that one of my best friends is my crockpot. So, I thought I'd share another recipe this week! It's for a yummy chicken tortilla soup and it's super easy.


Looks yummy, right?!


For chicken tortilla soup you'll need:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts**
2 cans Ro-Tel
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn
1 onion, chopped  (I used 1/2 of an onion I had left over from earlier in the week)
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1-2 cups of water
1 pkg of taco seasoning

toppings:
tortilla chips
sour cream
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

**I used 2 frozen chicken breasts. Before serving, I took the chicken breasts, shredded them, and stirred them back into the soup.

Add the soup ingredients together in a crockpot and stir together. Cook on high for 6-7 hours or on low for 6-9 hours. 

To serve, put a few tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl, ladle soup over the tortilla chips and top with shredded cheese and sour cream! 


Charlie gives this recipe the "a-ok"!

Like I said, this was super easy, and very tasty! 
Enjoy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Strawberry Brownie Cupcakes!

I decided to try out a new recipe this weekend that I found on Pinterest! Strawberry brownie cupcakes -- yummy, right?! For this recipe I used one box of brownies and one box of strawberry cake mix. I fixed each box according to the back of the package and preheated my oven to 350.


Okay, I'm going to get really technical when I explain my process.... :) I took my batter of brownie mix and added a dollop to the bottom of the cupcake liner. Then I took the cupcake batter and added a larger dollop on top. I was able to make 24 cupcake brownies, with that I had more brownie batter left over than cupcake batter. So I decided to pour the rest of the brownie batter in a pan and bake a small batch of brownies. I had enough cupcake batter left over to make two more plain strawberry cupcakes.


Here's what it looks like when I added my dollops of batter to the liners.

After pouring the batter for my strawberry brownie cupcakes I baked them at 350 degrees for 22 minutes. I let them cool completely, and I iced them with vanilla icing. For this batch, I iced them with some store bought icing because I was running short on time.


They look so yummy, right?!

Next time I make them, I'll make my own icing and top them with a fresh strawberry, for a little something extra. 
But they were delicious the way they were!


Have you found a recipe on Pinterest worth sharing??

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chalkboard Bins

I was feeling a little bit crafty today, so I decided to tackle some of my storage bins in my office. I've been wanting to better organize my office for a while and I have this very handy and useful 3 tiered storage bin. I've really liked it, but wanted to spruce it up a bit. I've had some scrapbook paper in the drawers to make it a little cuter, but was tired of that look. So, it was time to get out some of my most trusted and prized possession.....spray paint!


Cute, but can be better!

I was brainstorming, and decided to use my chalkboard spray paint that I bought a while back. The thought of a chalkboard in a can is pretty awesome. When I bought this I didn't know what I'd use it on, but figured I'd fine something to use it on! And I'd finally found the perfect project for it!


I used Krylon's "Chalkboard" spray paint.

So, I pulled my drawers out and got them situated on my handy dandy piece of cardboard out in the yard. Can you tell I've used it to spray paint things before??? 



I sprayed them down and waited about 20 minutes for them to completely dry before bringing them back in. And since today was such a nice day, the dogs decided to join me outside! 



Cola even got in on the action!

So, there ya have it. Easy peasy, 30 minute transformation of plain 3 bin plastic drawers! I'm really pleased with the results! It's amazing what a little spray paint can do.


So what do ya think?? Now, I've just got to figure out what my next chalkboard spray paint transformation will be!



Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Printable Calendar

As we start a new year, usually that means I'm scrambling to find a new calendar.

I stumbled across this blog: Balancing Home the other day and was so glad that I did! She's got some great ideas for projects, diy, and home decor. She also has some great FREE printables. So, I thought I'd share my *new* calendar for 2012 with y'all.

You can print the 2012 calendar on a whole sheet or half sheet. I preferred to print it two to a page, half sheets.



You can click the link 2012 calendar get your own copy!

ENJOY!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year 2012 Resolutions



It's a brand new year...and I plan on having a great 2012! I hope you had a fantastic New Year's and are looking forward to a great 2012 as well. I know I just posted about my NYE tradition and my plans for ringing in the new year, but sometimes your plans change. I'll post later this week about what really happened my NYE night.

As for now, I'll focus on my plans and resolutions for this year. I've got a few new year's resolutions I thought I'd share with y'all and I hope that accomplish all of them!

1. Read the Bible in a year. I haven't been the best about reading my Bible this year, so for 2012 I'm going to change that. I signed up for the 365 day Old and New Testament Bible reading plan from biblegateway.com. I've also found a website (there's plenty out there if you look) that gives a one year chronological reading of the Bible, so I'm going to try that reading plan as well.

2. Work out a little more. Yep. It's the standard New Year's resolution. The new year means it's time to crack down on all those bad eating habits from the holidays and whip yourself into shape! I'm going to try to set a goal that is actually obtainable while changing and challenging my work out / fitness regime. I'm planning on working out in some form or fashion 2-3 days a week. This means running, yoga, aerobics, or walking the dogs (with my dogs--it's a workout!), a few times a week. With this plan, I'm hoping to shape up, tone up, and hopefully lose a few pounds. (Aren't we all?!)

3. Start sewing. So, I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and was so excited to use it! I had never used a sewing machine before, but I was so excited to learn and wanted to jump right in and make a few things. After receiving my machine, I kindly asked my mother to help teach me the basics, to which she kindly refused. So....I was forced to try it by myself. I sat down and piddled with my machine some to figure things out and got frustrated in a hurry. And as you've probably guessed, I used my sewing machine all of 2 times this year--to mend a couple of pockets in some of my clothes. WOW. What a let down, I know. So for 2012 I'm planning on actually making somethings. After consulting my Aunt Janice as to what would be good to start off with as a beginner, she had a few suggestions for me. As of right now, my first couple of projects on my list are a pillow and an apron. I'll keep you informed as to how my progress on these projects. :)

4. Start and keep a journal / blog. Yep. I'm already ahead of the game on this one. Now it's only a matter of keeping up with it!


What goals do you have for 2012? How do you go about sticking to them throughout the year?