Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Two tote bags using the Cricut Explore!

Its been a while so I figured I'd better catch you all up on what's been going on in my world! I made quite a few handmade gifts, but in my haste I forgot to take pictures of many of them! Arrggh! However, I did take pictures of these super cute bags that I made for my secret santa and for my child's teacher. They were both super easy to make with my Cricut Explore (it took me about 20 minutes to make both bags)!

The first bag was made by using an existing graphic from the Cricut subscription library and then using a rectangle and the slice feature to get rid of the words and graphics I didn't want and then typing in the new words and inserting a basketball. I L.O.V.E. the slice feature!


The second bag was made by selecting a graphic from the library, typing the teacher's name, overlapping the two just a little and then welding the graphic andd the letters together. It sounds complicated, but it is literally just a few clicks to make this happen.


Thanks for checking out my post!




Friday, September 12, 2014

Spirit T-Shirts!!! Go BHS Tigers

So...my sweet husband got me the new Cricut Explore for my birthday. We made a deal that I would do some football shirts for him. When I originally priced custom t-shirts they started at $20. I knew that with my new gift I could make them for less than that. Using my PC, the Explore and black, gold and white heat transfer vinyl I was able to design, cut and iron the design onto a polo.

While I still have some learning to do I think my first try went really well. I wasn't sure if my iron would get hot enough, but it actually got too hot so now I know that I can lower the heat next time. I also tried my hand at converting a jpeg file to a svg file so that I could use a custom design. It wasn't very difficult, but I think I am going to try to find a cleaner graphic (I pulled it from a google image search so the quality wasn't that great). I can't wait to do shirts for me and the kids. When I do I'll share those as well.




Monday, August 25, 2014

Homemade Pasta!

I bought a pasta roller many months ago with the grand intention of making homemade pasta. Couple that with my growing desire to know what is in my family's food and you've got the perfect storm for actually getting my butt in gear and making it from scratch!

Let me say, the recipe that I ended up using couldn't have been easier! I used the one from one of my favorite books "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter". This book helps families decide whether its worth the time (and money) to make certain things from scratch. It really is a fun read that gives you the recipes and instructions to make many of your family's favorites in the comfort of your own kitchen.

On to the recipe...when you get the flour and eggs mixed up it will look sort of craggy, but this is perfectly fine. Before I started rolling out the dough I cut the big ball into four equal pieces. After I rolled the dough through the first two settings I cut the sheets in half width-wise so that I could actually manage them.

I learned the hard way that its best to continue to dust the pasta sheets with flour so that they don't stick and to go ahead and cut each sheet as you go (I ended up re-rolling a couple of the sheets because they got stuck to each other).

I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The pasta only took two minutes to cook (literally) when I put it in the boiling, salted water. The pasta came out super silky and luscious!

I hope you will take a leap and try your hand at homemade pasta or any of the other recipes in the book. The only drawback will be the fact that your family will want homemade pasta all the time! In the words of my eight year old, "Homemade is always best"! Toodles!








Thursday, August 14, 2014

Evening Gown - Creation, Elation and Destruction


My husband and I had free tickets to attend the NAACP Image awards viewing party (Thanks to my awesome employer - Walmart) . I was so excited to be able to see Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle in concert! I decided that this would be a great opportunity to sew my gown (Simplicity 2253). We live in a small town so I didn't want to just buy one - besides...where's the fun in that!? :)

I picked out a beautiful seafoam green stretch satin with a small amount of sheer, sequined fabric for the bodice. As soon as I purchased everything I caught...THE FLU - Ugh! Needless to say I was out of commission until the day before the event, but I wasn't going to let that ruin my plans. I stayed up all night Friday night to finish the dress.

My husband and I had an amazing time!

One funny part of the night...and the way life just happens - at the after gathering my husband accidentally spilled whole grain mustard on the front of my dress and the stain wouldn't come out! He was mortified because he knew I had just spent hours making it. I was a bit freaked out too, but then decided that I wasn't going to let a little mustard ruin our great night.

I've decided to make it into a dressy top and will make some flowy pants to go with it (for the next special event). Toodles!










Saturday, August 9, 2014

FREE Magazines, Music & Movies -- Not to mention books!

I am a voracious reader and listener of books, magazines, documentaries, etc. and feel like I'm missing out if I'm not learning something new on a regular basis. However, I found myself spending loads of money on popular websites for digital magazines, music, movies and books only to figure out that I didn't read, listen or watch enough to justify the cost of all of these items.

After doing some digging I found out that my library has all of these things available to me, in digital format, for FREE! Who knew the library had such great stuff!? And did I mention...it's FREE? Now, some of you may be reading this and saying, "I live in a little town and there is no way my library will have this". That may be true, but you should check just to be sure. My hometown library is small too, but they have throusands of downloadable books, movies and music and carries about 40 magazines that are available for digital download.

Once I learned about my own library's offerings I decided to look at libraries in nearby small cities and in larger cities to see what they had to offer. A library one town over had more than double the selection of my library so I decided to get a non-resident card. Although there was a nominal fee ($15 per year, per household) it was still a better deal than just one of the many subscriptions I had (for instance one of my audiobook subscriptions was more than $20 per month).

To find out what's available in your area just go to Google and type your city's nameplus public library. For example in the google search bar you would type "Chicago Public Library". Then click on the website link or, if available, click on the word "ebook" or "digital downloads" just under the website link. Many sites will allow you to browse what they offer even before you sign up for a library card.

The digital content can be accessed on nearly all devices -- from cell phones, to tablets/e-readers to PC's/MAC's by going to specific sites or downloading the corresponding app. The list below may vary by library, but some of the digital resources I have access to include, but are not limited to: Zinio - digital magazines, OverDrive - digital and audio books, One Click Audio - audio books, Freegal - music and movies and Hoopla - movies. All of these resources have content for all ages and are FREE through public libraries!

If you haven't visited a library in a while I hope the information in this post makes you fall in love with your library again.

Happy reading, listening and watching!



Pecan Pie Bark - A Delicious Discovery!


I really can't stand the texture of pecan pie, but my husband absolutely loves it. It is almost a sin to be a southerner and hate pecan pie (I get cross-eyed looks everytime I say it) :) Anyhoo...Enter the pecan pie bark, a yummy confection that is something between a pie and a cookie and has been approved by my entire family!

Since I don't want to be "that blogger" I want to make sure to give credit to the original blogger and guest blogger -- Great recipe - I found it during one of my Pinterest binges. :) I made some tweaks to the recipe based on previous baker's feedback and then added a few of my own. The original recipe can be found at http://wishesndishes.com/pecan-pie-bark/ and my tweaked version is listed below. Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Bark


1 T butter or margarine for greasing cookie sheet

12 graham cracker rectangles (may need more or less depending on length of cookie sheet

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 sticks margarine or butter

1 T corn syrup

1 T water

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups pecan halves

1 tsp vanilla

InstructionsPreheat oven to 325.

  1. Lightly grease cookie sheet
  2. Place graham crackers as close together as possible without ovrerlapping.You might have to break the last row of crackers to fit.
  3. In a medium/large sauce pot melt both sugars, butter, corn syrup, water, salt and cinnamon over medium heat until boiling.
  4. Let it boil for two minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking/burning.
  5. Add the pecans and boil for one additional minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  7. Pour mixture over the graham crackers and spread to evenly distribute.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting or breaking in to pieces.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Instruction #1-2 Instruction #3 Instruction #4

Instruction #5-6 Instruction #7 Instruction #8-9