Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Stephen and I headed off to Pittsburgh, PA which happens to be the American home of his people :).  His dad's cousin's daughter (did you get that?) got married this weekend in the 'burgh and we never miss a good opportunity to hang with family!  Thankfully, Stephen got a half-day off of work on Friday (and yet he still worked 7 hours - half day?  go figure) and we split town at noon.  Getting to Pittsburgh from Chicago is kinda tricky.  At first glance of a map, you can see that Pitt sits just east of Chi-town...however, at closer examination you will notice a huge body of water (a.k.a. Lake Michigan) that must be navigated around in order to get from point A. to point B.  The first time Stephen and I scooted to his homeland from our apt we took off on the National Turnpike.  We laughed carelessly in the wind until we arrived at our destination and added up all the money we had spent on tolls...$39 and some change...that's ONE WAY people!  Because we aren't heading to Pittsburgh and staying, we'd be paying somewhere in the ballpark of $80 (not to mention gas) just to get there on this pike.  So, we wised up (some may not see it that way) and we added a measly 30-45 min onto our trip each way to change our grand total spent to (wait for it...) $0 (of course gas is not included in that).  With that *new* navigation comes back roads, less traveled routes and great scenery - needless to say that that's our kind of travel!

Unfortunately I did what I do best and succeeded at taking very minimal pictures to document the fun that we had.  The only pictures I did take were of Stephen's parents tearing up the dance floor in the DJ provided hats to wear in accompaniment to the Village People's "YMCA".  I don't think they would appreciate me sharing those on my blog :).  My favorite part of the night was when Stephen and I were outside talking with some of his cousins when his mom throws open the door (hat still on, blow-up microphone in hand <--that was another prop given out) and says, "KARI!  Your song is on!  We need you on the dance floor - NOBODY knows what they're doing!!!"  For all my friends who have fallen victim to watching me "dance" to FloRida's Low, you will know exactly what she was referring to....

Leading up to the wedding, I was itching for a good project and I couldn't shake the fact that I had a perfectly good piece of wood from Hobby Lobby in our closet that I had picked up about 2 years ago in hopes to make a Fall sign for our apartment.  I snagged this sucker for 1/2 off $2.99 and my good intentions got left to the wayside...the sign was never made. I decided I was going to use it to make a personalized wedding gift for Stephen's cousin and her new husband.

I used the same technique that I had used to make our Count Your Blessings sign by printing off what I was wanting to put on my sign and then shading the back of it with pencil to trace it onto the piece of wood...I'll let the pictures do the talking:
Here's the wooden sign already spray painted with the same paint that I had bought and used for our Count Your Blessings sign...

I printed off my S and shaded the back

 I then traced the S onto the piece of wood...

Here's the painted S

I then did the same thing with their last name and painted in my tracings (sorry the picture is crooked - silly blogger!)

Here's the finished painted sign...

I then sanded the pants off of it for a vintage-y look....
2 steps that I do not have pictures for (you're not missing much) is when I took the sign and sprayed it with a clear, glossy spray paint to seal it off.
I then measured the back of it to find the middle of the wood and hammered in a hanging metal strip to the back of it so that they can hang it on their walls.

Total cost of this project:
Wood Sign: $1.50
Metal Hanging Strip: $1.99 for 2 (I only used 1 so that's $1)
I had all the paint...
that's right - I paid a whopping $2.50 for this personalized wedding gift :)

Have you finished any cool projects lately?  I'm always looking for inspiration!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bon Appetit: Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

The other day, I was using my cornstarch (to make this yummy strawberry pie) when I snagged this great recipe from the container.  I was so intrigued by the simplicity of this and the possibility of having fall in my mouth, that I decided to give it a try for my small group.  Verdict? These mini pumpkin cheesecakes are so incredibly good and so incredibly easy, that I know this won't be the last time I make them!

Here's what you need:

*18 paper baking cups (2 1/2 inch)
*18 gingersnap cookies
*12 ounces cream cheese, softened
*3/4 cup sugar
*1 Tablespoon corn starch
*1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
*2 eggs
*1 cup canned pumpkin
*1/3 cup corn syrup (light or dark)

Here's what you do:
*Line muffin pans with 18 paper baking cups. Place 1 gingersnap in each.

*Beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add pumpkin and syrup; beat 1 minute.

*Pour filling into paper baking cups, dividing evenly.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until just set.
*Chill for 1 hour.  Garnish as desired (I used slivered almonds and chocolate chunks)

*Makes 18 mini cheesecakes

Thanks Argo Cornstarch for changing my life! :)

Here's a handy dandy little recipe card I made for you!  Just click, save and print!  (Thanks to Mel over at The Larson Lingo for this great idea!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Copycat: Quartrefoil Tray

A couple of months ago, Stephen and I were walking back to our apartment when we stumbled upon this perfectly good wooden tray that someone had tossed out with their trash (don't worry - it wasn't IN their trash can, just hanging out next to it).  Stephen looked at me with a silly little grin, knowing exactly what was going through my mind.  That's right - I wanted it.  Who wouldn't?  It was in good shape and was FREE - score and SCORE!  We picked it up, carried it home and tucked it away in a closet until inspiration came to do something with it.

Fast forward.

Last week I thought about the tray and I remembered that we were heading to Kentucky for the weekend.  Because Chicago doesn't sell spray paint, I knew I was going to have to snag some outside of the city.  I picked up the spray paint and returned to Chicago knowing that I was going to tackle that tray once and for all....

...and then I stumbled upon this Quatrefoil Trey at Red Heads Craft More Fun.  As soon as I saw Courtney's tray, I KNEW I wanted to be a copycat.  That's one of my most favorite things about reading blogs!  I'm constantly being inspired by all the creativity surrounding me.  Thanks for the inspiration, Courtney!

What I used:
*A wooden tray
*Americana Acrylic Craft Paint in "Butter"
*Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Spray Paint in "Ivy Leaf"
*spray paint sprayer nozzler (yes, that is the technical name of it :-P)
*the quatrefoil stencil
*pair of scissors.

What I did:
*I gave my wooden tray a good rub down with sandpaper - keep with me people, it's not good for your minds to wander there!
*I then went to town on it with my spray paint.  That sucker ended up soaking up the entire can of spray paint - geeze-oh-pete!

*After about 100 layers of spray paint (okay, not really, more like 5-6) I went into the apartment and printed off the quatrefoil stencil and got to work cutting it out.
*Once I had cut it out, and the spray paint had time to dry, I laid the stencil down on my tray and began tracing the design on there.  I continued to trace the design, lining it up with what I had already traced, until the entire tray was covered.
*I took my Americana Butter and patiently painted and filled in the quatrefoil design on my tray.  I let that dry and then came back to it to add a second coat.
*Once all paint had dried, I came back to the tray and sanded the pants off it to give it a good, aged look.

Let me tell you - I LOVE IT!  I didn't realize how much I was going to like it until I finished and saw it hanging out on my coffee table.  I love the color that it brings up onto the table and I absolutely LOVE the contrast between the green and the butter (thanks to my friend Jenn who pointed me in that direction!)!  Better yet, I really love the price tag of this project!  In all, I spent about $5.  The tray was free (sorry, I'm not trying to rub it in...), the spray paint was like $3.87 and the Americana paint was like $1.20.

All thanks to Courtney, the redhead who has more fun crafting than myself ;) - without her post, my tray would've just been green...I'm soooo glad I saw her tray first!

I'm linking up to these parties:
(T) Today's Creative Blog; Sugar Bee Crafts; New Nostalgia; Coastal Charm; Hope Studios; (W) Trendy Treehouse; Blue Cricket Design; Domestically Speaking; The Thrifty Home; Someday Crafts; Women Who Do It All; Sew Woodsy; Night Owl Crafting; (Th) Gluesticks; Somewhat Simple; The Shabby Chic Cottage; House of Hepworths; Tales from Bloggeritaville; Fireflies and Jellybeans; It's Sew Stinkin Cute; Delightful Order; bouffe e bambini; Organize and Decorate Everything; (F)Chic on a Shoestring Decorating; It's a Hodgepodge Life; It's FUN to Craft!; Fingerprints on the Fridge; The Shabby Nest; Remodelaholic; Simply Designing; Home is Where My Story Begins; (S)Tatertots and Jello; The Creative Crate; A Vision to Remember; Young and Crafty; Along for the Ride; Funky Junk Interiors; Lolly Jane Boutique; (Sun)I Heart Naptime; Under the Table and Dreaming

Monday, May 23, 2011

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 60

My friend, Amanda, is a quilter.  She has made so many beautiful quilts, and in doing so, has inspired me to (think about) make one of my own!  When I stumbled upon this blog/website, I knew I had to share it because it really reinforced that desire.  I know there are a lot of you out there who share the desire to create a quilt that could be passed on in your family.  Maybe you're like me and the thought of making a quilt overwhelms you.  I think Moda Bakeshop is just for us - it breaks down the process and really makes the idea of quilting seem like it could happen!  Amanda, I hope you find some great inspiration on here for your next quilt!

Ever get confused when reading quilting terms like "layer cake" or "dessert rolls"?  Don't be fooled - these aren't sugary sweets - this page will give you different tutorials on how to create your own quilt using one of these different types of bundles.

Did you know I love pillows?  I reeeaaaallly like these pillows!

I'm loving this quilt!  I love all the colors and the design of it!

I really, really, really like the geometric design of this quilt...is this the one???

All you quilters (and quilting wanna-bes) unite!  Head on over to Moda Bakeshop and get lost in all the quilting possibilities!  Amanda, I'm super interested in hearing what you think!

Happy Blogging!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh. Em. Gee.

I've been having trouble with my computer charging lately.  I couldn't figure it out, except that I knew it was my charger (I have the exact same MacBook for work and also my own personal one and they were both having the same troubles), but I was thinking it was maybe the outlet it was plugged into.  If any of you out there have a Mac laptop, you know that when you have your charger plugged in, your computer screen gets a bit brighter; when you unplug it, your screen dims a bit.  On Thursday morning, I was getting so frustrated because while my computer was plugged into the charger, my screen was having it's own light show - flash brighter, go dimmer, flash brighter, go dimmer...you get the drift.  Son of a gun!  I tried everything.  Powered my computer down; powered it back up.  Unplugged the charger from the computer; plugged it back it.  Nothing was working.  That's when I was convinced it was the outlet that my charger was plugged into.  I swiftly unplugged it, thinking of another outlet I could try it out in when my attention was caught by this:
Do you see it?  Let me zoom in a bit closer....

The inside of my cord had burned right through to the outside...ay yi yi!  I'm so fortunate that whenever this happened, that nothing caught on fire!  I know from the picture it just looks like it was split open, but there are dark burn marks there, my friend, dark burn marks.  YIKES!  Thankfully, like I said earlier, I have the same computer for work and I have a charger for that computer so I'll be able to use that charger for both my work and personal computers.  Thank goodness!  Has this happened to any of you guys???

In other news... last year I gave up Diet Coke for Lent.  Before I gave it up, I was drinking waaaay too much of this stuff.  When I gave it up, I got used to drinking a lot of water and would sometimes supplement with powerade or other drinks with a little flavor.  When Lent ended, I decided that it was much easier to keep myself from drinking Diet Coke than it was for me to try and limit my intake.  It's been over a year, and I haven't touched DC since.  Sometimes I'll let myself enjoy a good Diet Sierra Mist or Sprite and while those are good, I don't love them as much as I loved DC so I don't drink them that often.
One day a couple of weeks ago, Stephen and I were perusing Wal-Mart (sorry, Melissa) when we saw this interesting, no calorie sparkling lemonade.  We grabbed a few 2 liters and as soon as we cracked into one, we knew we were in love!
They have a couple of flavors (Cherry Limeade, Strawberry Lemonade, Peach Lemonade, Lemonade and Pink Lemonade)

Has anyone else tried these bad boys out?  They're only available at Wal-Mart, because I believe they're made by them.  Both Stephen and my small groups love this stuff, and we agree - it's good!  Our personal favorite is the Strawberry Lemonade, with the Peach Lemonade coming in as 2nd best.  If you haven't tried this stuff, we definitely recommend it!

Okay, enough random rambling for the day!  I hope you guys have a fabulous weekend!  I'm working on a project that I can't wait to share with you sometime next week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Oil Change

Stephen and I spent the weekend in Kentucky with our friends and family.  We had a wonderful time seeing our family and then I really enjoyed seeing all my dear friends on Saturday for my friends Lauren and Brad's wedding.
Here's a picture of the lovely bride and groom (borrowed from my friend Carly's FB)

Me and my besties enjoying acting utterly ridiculous dancing at the reception - Katie on the left and Doni in the middle

My other bestie, Laura is on the left - Stephen's the lucky man standing in back of me ;)

So anyways, we knew we were going to good 'ol Kentucky and we also knew we needed an oil change.  Despite the fact that I absolutely hate doing anything car related, I told Stephen that I would go on Thursday after my Bible Study (BSF - holla'!) and get the oil changed in the car.  I went into Jiffy Lube ready and rearing to go with my Martha Stewart Living and my Rachel Ray's Everyday to keep me occupied.  You know the routine - they take your car, ask you what you want and then work on your car.  When your car is finished, you go to the counter and pay.  I was so surprised and relieved when my visit took less time than I had originally planned.  The cashier and I had a good, somewhat forced chuckle at the fact that she called me Stephen (because that's the name on file with the license plate) and then I got to work digging out my wallet to make the payment.  After I had dug my way around and through my purse, I immediately started to panic when I realized that my wallet was NOT IN THERE.  My face started to catch fire, I could feel the heat in each cheek running rampant.  All of a sudden I started to feel all sweaty and just enflamed as I realized that I had no way to pay for the service that was performed on my car.  
That's me at that moment.

I told the nice lady the situation and she suggested I go check the car to see if my wallet was there.  I go out to my car and dig around, knowing the whole time that my wallet was not there.  I have 2 thoughts plaguing my mind at this point: 1) how in good gravy am I going to pay for this?! and 2) where the hot tamale is my wallet???  I whipped out my cell phone and immediately dialed Stephen.  No answer.  Called again.  No answer.  My frustration immediately was transitioned to him - doesn't he know he should be at my beck and call at every waking moment?! (please not the heavily laid sarcasm).  After I had no luck with Stephen, I began to think about who I could call that could help me.  I wasn't that far from our apartment (far enough to be out of walking distance and a public commute could take at least an hour), and I knew my friend Jenn lived down the street from us.  Her work is really flexible and I knew she would come and help me...only she didn't answer her phone.  Lucky for Jenn she isn't my husband, so she only received one call from me.  The next friend that came to mind was someone that I really didn't want to call.  Don't get me wrong, Amanda would drive out to anywhere to help me - she's an amazing friend - but her and her husband live about a half hour from our apartment (Chicago traffic will make you wish you lived elsewhere) and I hated to ask her to drive out to help me (and selfishly, I knew that would take longer).  But, I swallowed my pride and dialed her up.  Here's how the conversation went:
Amanda: "Hi friend!  How are you?"
Me: "Well, I've been better {insert story here}.  I hate to ask you this, and please feel free to tell me 'No' if you cannot, but what are the odds that you could come out to this Jiffy Lube and pay for my oil change?????"
Amanda: "Well....where are you?  I'm at a thrift store on Clybourne right now..."
Me: "I'm at Fullerton and Clybourne....are you at the Salvation Army?"
Amanda: "Yes..."

I'll stop there - Chicago's a big city.  Amanda doesn't live near the Salvation Army, nor does she frequent that one and it just so happened that the day I was stuck at Fullerton and Clybourne because I had stupidly lost my wallet, Amanda was only a 5 MINUTE walk from my location.  FIVE MINUTES?!  She was right down the street.  Hello God, thanks for loving me and showing me that you're there to take care of me!
As Amanda was telling me her location, a light came streaming down from Heaven and a Heavenly host of angels began to sing in sweet harmony...not really, but it felt that way!  
Thank God for being God and for giving me wonderful friends!

p.s. my wallet was in the pocket of my jacket from when I had walked to Trader Joes (holy toledo I love Trader Joes!) earlier that week.  I left it in there thinking, "I'll remember it's there..." famous. last. words.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Custom Baby Bedding

Okay blogging friends, I've had a lot of encouraging responses from my baby bedding photos that I shared with you last week.  As a result, I'm going to offer up my services to any of you preggo readers or readers who have friends/family members who are expecting.  I am willing and able to make the following pieces out of fabric of your choice:
-Crib skirt (ruffled or straight edged <--as shown in the photos)
-Fitted crib sheet
-Window Valance
-Decorative pillow
-Changing pad cover

If you're interested in finding out about pricing, timing, etc, please shoot me an email at KariG29@gmail.com and make the subject "Baby Bedding".  I looooooooove fabric and I love to sew - I'd love to work with you!

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 59

Jess is quite the sewer and she makes me want to sew everything in the world!  She is super inspiring with her great clothes for little girls.  I hope to try my hand at some of her sweet little dresses!  Not only does the blog have wonderful tutorials on sewing clothes, but Craftiness is Not Optional has great tutorials on a bunch of other things as well!

If my sister has a sweet little baby girl, I definitely want to make this dress for her!

Check out this super sweet little dress!  For the love!

Looking for a gift for a sister, mom or best girl friend?  How about this adorable half apron?

I definitely need to follow this tutorial for making a new ironing board cover - mine is the pits!

I LOVE this poinsettia Christmas tree skirt - SO pretty!

Head on over to Craftiness is Not Optional and be inspired to sew!!!

Happy Blogging!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Finally! Some pictures of baby bedding!

Do you remember when I told you that I was going to make my friend, Shea's baby bedding (if not, you can read about it here)?  Well, after I had told you about this adventure, I quickly got to work ordering fabrics from Fabric.com.  After getting them in the mail and seeing that the colors looked completely different in real life than on my computer screen (go figure) I sent them back (they have an AMAZING return policy) and ordered new Amy Butler patterns.  I loved the advice that my friend Cory gave me regarding doing Minky Dot on the inside of the bumpers, so that's exactly what we did!
Here's sweet Shea and beautiful Naomi, or Omi as they call her...this was a few short days after she arrived!
And now, she's anxiously awaiting (or napping through her anxiety) the call from IU that she's been accepted as an early applicant (Moms and Pops are both IU grads) :)

Anyways...I got busy working on the crib skirt, the bumpers and the blanket and I finally have pictures to show you!  Unfortunately, the blanket didn't make its debut in any of these pictures, but you can enjoy the rest :) (With the extra fabric I made a pillow with an "N" on it for Naomi).

And there it is!  The blanket was the floral fabric on one side and then a deeper pink on the back with the green as the binding....maybe Shea will remember to take a picture and send it so I can share it with you - although she is a bit busy now that Omi is around :).  I was super pleased with the outcome, so much that I decided to torture get myself into it once again for my sister!
***If you're interested in custom baby bedding for you or someone you love, click here***

I've linked this project up to these parties:

Because I Love My Sister...

Do you remember when I decided to make my friend, Shea her baby bedding?  Well, I did just that and was super pleased with the outcome!  Maybe one day, when she remembers to send me the pictures, I will share with you those results...

Until then, I'll share with you the projects that I'm working on for my sister's baby.  The little bean is due in June and they have decided to not find out the gender (what fun!).  They're painting the nursery a light lime green and are going with a cute safari theme.

This is the book that I've used to create the dust ruffle/crib skirt.  I LOVE IT!  I had originally borrowed it from the library and then decided to bite the bullet and purchase one for myself.  It's chocked full of great sewing projects including the dust ruffle that I've finished:
Here is the side view of the dust ruffle.  In between those two panels are:

...a few animals that will peak through when the dust ruffle is under the mattress.

Here's and end view - the end panel is made up of the animal fabric.

And then here's another view of the animals peaking through the side panels.

As for the rest of the bedding, I'm going to be making her bumpers and a blanket that will match the skirt.  The bumpers will be a combination of these:
This jungle fabric will be the outside of the bumpers...
The turquoise minky-dot will be the inside of the bumpers while the orange polka-dot will be the piping and the ties.

The blanket is being made using this tutorial from Sew4Home - I'm just going to make it bigger than the receiving blanket size.  It will look like this when I'm done:

I'm using this cotton fabric for the one side:

And then the other side and the ric rac will be:

As soon as I'm finished, I'll be sure to show you!  Keep your eyes pealed for the results from my friend Shea's baby bedding - I'll get those pictures out of her!