Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bake Yourself Silly Gift Basket DIY

Dashing through the dough,
with a broken spatula...
O'er the pies we go,
noshing all the way...

And so it has begun...
the season of eating baking, right?

Today I have a great gift idea for you,
and it's pretty simple to put together.
Perfect for the bakers in your life.
The Bake Yourself Silly gift basket.

Start with a nice glass batter bowl.
This one is from Anchor Hocking and I
picked it up at Wally World for about $8.
I like the shape of it, it has a lid and can be used in the oven.

Find a cute kitchen towel or two, HomeGoods is your friend.
I included some easy Betty Crocker mix packets...
peanut butter cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, and some blueberry muffins.

I also made up a  DIY gift sack with the dry
ingredients from my favorite pumpkin bread.
Don't forget to add a can of pumpkin.

Add a stack of muffin papers...it was close to Halloween
when I made these, that explains the candy corn.
Throw in some hand stamped bamboo spoons for little extra personalization.

Put a little tissue filler in the bottom of your bowl, 
arrange all items for the best fit and presentation.
Find a fabulous gift basket bag wrap thingamabob big enough
to fit all your goodies, tie it with a cute tag and some twine...

And you're ready to give an awesome
afternoon of baking to someone you love.

You can download and print the tags here.

You can customize this for any occasion...
just think...sprinkles, cupcake decorating tools,
cookies cutters...make it your own.

I recently made these two fun baskets as door prizes
for a chili cookoff my mom and I organized.
They were a big hit.

I've been trying to get this post up for some time.
It's just been crazy around here.
We've had some wild family stuff going on since summer
and I, for one, am ready for it to calm down.
Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?

I've got several fun holiday themed projects waiting to be shared.
And, by George, I am going to do my best to get them out to you!
I hope all you lovelies have a wonderful
week and a blessed Thanksgiving!

Re-gifting here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cookie Dough Jack-O-Lantern Truffles

Halloween is a perfect time to send a fun
care package to your favorite college student!

You should definitely include some of these yummy cookie dough jack-o-lanterns.
If you can keep from eating them yourself.

Cookie dough is one of Sara's favorite things.
I thought it would be awesome to send some
homemade treats and scare up a little yum.

I looked for some ideas online, but most called
for using a can of sweetened condensed milk.
I found this odd...since it's not a normal ingredient in chocolate chip cookies.
At least not the ones I make.

So I just messed around with my favorite recipe until I got it just the way I wanted.
I used a small scoop, just like when I bake real cookies...
so they'd be a uniform size.
Roll them into balls, place on parchment or freezer
paper on a cookie sheet, and freeze until firm.

I dipped them in orange colored vanilla candy melts from Wilton and let them set.
BTW, I think I am the worst candy dipper in the universe.
My truffles, cake balls, whatever, are never smooth and pretty.
Guess it's a good thing they taste good!

Using a toothpick and some melted chocolate,
add the eyes and nose while they're sitting on your cookie sheet.
You can do the mouth now, too, if you want.
It was easier to pick them up to add the mouth, but doing the whole
face while holding it made the candy coating melt in my hot little hands.

Yes, I am aware their smiles are lopsided.
Snarky little things.

We're not..............watching.................you.

I'll show them...just bite their face off!

I packaged them up in cellophane bags with cute tags.
But those darn jack-o-lanterns would not stack nicely.

I said, if you guys don't start cooperating, heads are gonna roll.


But they just sat there and stared at me with
those happy little smirks on their faces.


But you can't send a care package with just one thing!
Among other things there was a Practical Magic DVD and
I included some of these cute Halloween pedi gift bags...
inspired by Being Bianca.
To have and to share...roommate, littles, friends
Spread the love around.

Cookie Dough Truffles
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Whisk flour and salt together and then add to creamed mixture until blended.  Add chocolate chips and mix well.
Form into balls and freeze until ready to coat using chocolate or candy melts.

Have a sweet week!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

A Touch of Fall

Howdy, Peeps!
I'm just sharing a little of my fall decor today...
in hopes that maybe summer will finally get tired of hanging around...
and it will cool down some.

A lot of my decorations are the same...
so you may have seen them on last year's tour.
Sometimes I move things around and occasionally add new items.

The little mouse hanging on the side of the wire
cloche is new, but not really a fall accessory.
Just a bit of whimsy.

Oops, it appears my "slipcover" is riding up.
Pardon me!

I added a little printable banner to the chunky shelf.

Other things got moved around...and now some
orange candles glow here on a side table.

I love putting little pumpkins in this big lantern.
I rarely light the candles that are normally in it anyway.

One major difference this year...I got the dresser painted last winter!
I am loving it...and it looks so cozy and warm over there.

I know some people like to decorate for fall with neutrals and white pumpkins...

...let them, I say...I will keep the things I love about fall...
the warm, rich colors that evoke thoughts of falling leaves and
crunching through cornfields on a cool autumn night bundled up for a hayride!

Ooooh...and hot apple cider and pumpkin bread...and caramel apples...

Aaaahhhh...I feel refreshed already.
Take that, summer!

I found this cute pom pom garland on clearance this past weekend.
So fun! I knew I had to add it to the mix.

Some time this past year, I spray painted the shutters...
they were bright white and chippy...but too white.
Now they are more subdued...and you can still see
the chippy-ness beneath the thin coat of paint.

Warm, rich, cozy...
I think it's time for some of that cider.

I hope you've enjoyed this little jaunt into fall.

If you pretend not to notice the dust on my black tables...
I'll pretend to feel really bad about its existence.

I have a Halloween-ish treat coming up next,
so don't forget to check back with me soon!
Have a great weekend.

Doing my best tour guide impressions here:

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

35 Minute Skillet Lasagna

Think you don't have time to make a great dinner?
Think again!

In 35 minutes or less you can make this
awesomely delicious one pan Skillet Lasagna!
No kidding.

Let's put 35 minutes on the clock, shall we?

In a LARGE skillet, this one is 14"...
brown and crumble your meat...in this case,
ground turkey and bulk Italian sausage.
At this time also add the garlic, onion, and salt to taste.

While the meat is cooking, assemble your cheese ingredients.

25 minutes: When the meat is done, stir in spaghetti sauce and water.
Add the extra spices now if you are going to.
Dump in your noodles, stir and make sure they're all covered with sauce.
Cook according to noodle box instructions.

Meanwhile...stir together your ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses.
Then mix in the fresh ground pepper, parsley, and salt to taste.
Don't forget to stir the noodles occasionally.

15 minutes: Drop the cheese mixture in small clumps all
over your noodle/sauce/meat concoction.
Sprinkle with extra mozzarella if so desired.

10 minutes: Set heat on lowest setting, or turn off...
cover and let sit 10 minutes until all the cheese has melted.

0 minutes: Remove the lid and dig in!

Skillet Lasagna
click here for a printable version (print page link at bottom of page)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb bulk ground Italian sausage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, pressed, smushed (or 2 tsp jar or dried for faster service)
  • 1 tbsp dried, minced onions.
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (I use Classico roasted tomato and garlic.  NO added sugar...tastes YUMMY!)
  • 3 cups water
  • 8-10 oz. broken lasagna noodles OR mini bowtie pasta...it works perfectly!!!
  • 1 1/2 tsp each dried basil, oregano, and thyme, optional
  • 1 cup whole ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt to taste
  1. In a LARGE skillet,brown and crumble your meat. At this time also add the garlic, onion, and salt to taste. While the meat is cooking, assemble your cheese ingredients.
  2. When the meat is done, stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Add the extra spices now if you are going to. Dump in your noodles, stir and make sure they're all covered with sauce. Cook according to noodle box instructions...about 9-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile...stir together your ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. Then mix in the fresh ground pepper, parsley, and salt to taste. Don't forget to stir the noodles occasionally.
  4. When the noodle timer goes off, drop the cheese mixture in small clumps all over your noodle/sauce/meat concoction. Sprinkle with extra mozzarella if so desired. Set heat on lowest setting, or turn off...cover with the lid...and let sit 10 minutes so the cheese can melt.
  5. Remove the lid and dig in!

This recipe makes a BUNCH!
But it's good for leftovers, too.
A tasty homemade dinner in less than 35 minutes.
I told you it could be done...but I bet you didn't believe me.
Sorry, I can't help with the clean up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pre-Blogging Projects

Or:  I Was a DIYer Before It Was Cool...

Maybe that was a bit dramatic.

I've always been "crafty" and I don't mean sly.
At least as far as you know.

For many years I would make one of the
Christmas gifts I gave out to everyone each year.
Then something strange happened and I don't
seem to have time for that anymore.

When I was in high school I found this awesome lantern at a garage sale.
It was baby blue, poor thing.
I sanded it, sprayed it a muted metallic gold...
and started my love affair with spray paint.

It's all downhill from there...

So...here are a few things I did before there was an everlasting record on the interwebs:

Our dining room table...

We bought in the height of the "everything must be Hunter Green" years.
It had green legs and a stained top.
Armless Windsor chairs that matched.
About  8 or 9 years ago I got sick and tired of that green paint.

I took it all out onto the front porch...took it apart and started painting.
I sanded the top of the table, which may or may not
have had a large burn area from a candle mishap.
(You know, the kind you cover up with a placemat and large hurricane)
I used a stain/poly combo which I wasn't thrilled about but it was okay.
It could use a light sanding and new coat now.

It was an amazing difference and we've loved it ever since.
The table is great and sturdy, the chairs have since been
replaced because they were not so much so.

For a long time, in our old house, I used this old
steamer trunk for a coffee table in the living room.
Now everyone thinks it's a fresh, new idea or something. :)
It now sits at the end of my bed and serves as a bench of sorts.

Jon and I built this rustic baker's rack from cedar fence planks about 10 years ago.
(so, sorry, no build plans, we just winged it)
It has a Z back like a barn door and is super sturdy.
We've been talking about building a new one...a little more refined...
and converting this one into a potting bench complete
with an enamel bowl "sink" for my mom.

In other kitchen news...although I don't have a picture...
in our old house...we used an antique ladder over the island as a pot rack.
My kitchen now has a ridiculously tall ceiling..so that won't work now.
Boo hoo.

Don't ask me why there's a rainbow sock monkey in the kitchen.
I'm not really sure myself.

I'm about to make you jealous.
See my antique wire locker baskets?
I've had them for a long while.  Before they were all the rage.
They're awesome for cookbooks and cloth napkins.
I paid about $30 for all 3 including shipping.
Please don't hate me.

This chalkboard I made before the chalkboard craze.
Nowadays you can't turn around without seeing some chalkboard
in some fashion somewhere...even in print ads.
I know, right?

Yes, it might be time for the grapes to go...I told you it was a while ago.

Not long after we moved in to this house,
we did a little update to the master closet.
It's an odd shape, and when you opened the door {inward, no less}
you couldn't get to anything behind the door.
You would have to go in, back against the wall, and close the door.

We just took the stinkin' door off...
hung a small rod on the inside of the closet and hung spa-like curtains...
which is perfect since it is off the master bath.

I know some of you don't like those wire shelves you see here, but believe me...
they work very well for us.  We redesigned the inner space so there are
2 levels of hanging on the left, one on the right for longer things...
and shelves along the back wall and up top.

I'd give you a closer look, but it's usually a disaster anyway. :)

Here's a copycat project I did when we when we moved in.
I love the pet food tins from Ballard, but really...
who is going to pay $45 for a tin can to put cat food in?
Well, not me.

I got a big popcorn tin from a candy store...pretty cheap...
Spray paint and vinyl lettering...
Mine was about half of theirs...and it matches the food bowls.
And, it's bigger...probably the $54 size!

Essie likes to sit up here when she thinks I'm neglecting my
feeding duties and remind me, loudly, that she can see
the fishie in the bottom of her bowl.

She doesn't quite get the fact that with her fuzzy butt
on top of the can, I can't get to the food anyway.

This fold down front secretary desk has been mine since high school.
It was white with gold detailing...French Provincial that matched my canopy bed.
Yes, I did.  And you're wishing you had one, too.

I painted it...omg...
so long ago I can't quite remember...maybe 17 or 18 years.
I even used a crackle medium and antiquing glaze.

It might be time for another change.

I changed all the hardware...filling screw holes
and re-drilling for the new handles.
I was so proud.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list...
some things I just don't have pictures of.
Like: 1. When we moved in to our OLD house...
which was a rental with a flexible agreement I won't get into...
we had to gut half the bathroom and install a new shower surround and sub floor.
Not to mention paint over some cow stencils with angry red udders. :)

2. I used to use a real tree branch as a curtain rod in our "nature" bathroom.

3. We laid a herringbone brick patio there from some leftover building bricks.

And all the other little things that are always
going on but not always worthy of documenting.
You know, like the fact that I am currently attempting
to organize our kitchen cabinets.
That seemed like a better option than trying to steam the
wallpaper border off the walls in Sara's bathroom so I can paint. :)

Wish me luck!

sharing here:

AKA Design
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Glitter, Glue and Paint
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Love of Family and Home
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Made from Pinterest
I Should Be Mopping the Floor
Kitchen Table Art
The Dedicated House
Upcycled Treasures
A Stroll Thru Life
Love Grows Wild
Sowdering About
Just a Girl and Her Blog
Designs by Miss Mandee
Crafty Allie
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Fluster Buster
From My Front Porch to Youra
The Turquoise Home
Embracing Change
Lamberts Lately
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