Saturday, April 30, 2011

My favorite things

I am going to post each day this week and share with you some of my favorite things. Some are old some are and some are brand new.
In honor of Sunday I wanted to share one of my new favorite things. In all honesty it is not my favorite thing. It was a gift I gave to my husband this Easter. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. I would love to say I purchased it from an antique store or a welder but I purchased it from Lifeway Christian store.
I love its simplicity and was pleasantly surprised at how the shadow is created from the lights in the kitchen. My hubby Mr. Jackpot picked the place right over the pantry door. A place we visit each day and plainly displayed where we can see it in the kitchen.

Stay tuned! I hope each of you enjoy each post!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Biting off more than you can screw! Punn intended.

I purchased this shade at Ikea for our playroom.

Its bright red complimented the primary color scheme. I do want to have red accents in the downstairs great room / kitchen but a bright red velvet lamp shade just doesn't seem right above an eating area. I got the urge to change the boring pendant fixture the builder installed on a Monday afternoon.

I was going through my fabric stash . .trying to widdle it down when I stumbled across some fun and quirky fabric. So the plan was to cover the shade and swap out getting rid of glass shade. I hot glued the fabric to the shade. If you are going to venture doing this it is much easier to get the fabric on a shade when doing so on the bias. Also be careful what setting your hot glue gun is on as I burned my thumb doing so, should have been my first warning.

This project should have been simple just unscrew the glass coupling that holds it and put the Ikea shade in its place. Well yeah sure if whoever installed the light fixture did that correctly. But alas no they screwed it on crooked and the glass shade wouldn't come off.

So plan "B", get an inexpensive pendant kit from Home Depot ($14) and change it. Easy enough, done this before. Hmmm well would have been easy if whoever installed the fixture hadn't stripped the screws. So there I was on a ladder trying desperately to unscrew the pendent from the light box, crying by now and cursing the person who installed it. While I am perched on the top of the ladder, screwdriver in hand (yes the electricity turned off) the kids come screaming downstairs because they hear a siren. Of course being the responsible mother I am, I yelled at them, sent them back upstairs saying it was just a police siren.
More cursing and crying on my part then in the back of my head a small voice saying "hmm Vickie the Doppler effect is not working on that siren. You might want to notice the hail that is now falling outside."
I climb down the ladder pull out my phone and notice all the Weather Channel warnings and then it clicked. Crap there is a tornado coming! :-) So downstairs to the basement we go, some puppet shadows later and thankfully no tornado! Oh yeah and there is nothing like a tornado with two kids to make you really feel like an adult. You realize quickly instead of being the one coming unraveled you need to keep it together.

My wonderful husband managed to get the remaining stripped screw off and I was able to get my project gone bad done. Of course my hubby did manage to say he thought I bit off more than I could chew! He was right but only because someone couldn't screw right! :-)

Here is the before:

Here is the after:

What do you think? Better? So now I have to figure out what fabric to do for curtains to coordinate? I don't have enough fabric to make curtains for the kitchen. Do you think a cord cover would be over doing it? Would love some feedback!

I am hoping to keep the momentum going on the crafting so stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I probably should have prefaced my previous post with the fact that I plan my menus a week in advance. from my blog browsing I realize a lot of other people do too. I wish I knew this a while ago as most of my friends joked with me about this. The planner that I am it never occurred to me that it was strange! :-) I found it necessary to prevent the question of "what is for dinner" and oh I don't feel like that. Of course this is only if you can read . .my four year old still asks the question What are we having for dinner. Which I am a bit befuddled by as the only thing the kid will eat is chicken nuggets! :-)
On the menu this week are a few items that will use the leftover ham from Easter. I must be used to still hosting large gatherings as I picked a ham from Costco which could have easily fed our small neighborhood.
Monday we had ham and cheese biscuits with a very yummy poppy seed spread. I think I look forward to these just as much as the Easter dinner.
We grilled out this weekend and have now gotten into the habit of grilling extra meat for later in the week. Usually it is chicken breasts which we did this week and it is so yummy over a salad. Also makes for a great easy quick meal.
I have a long standing stuffed shell recipe that calls for diced ham. Sound unusual but it is very good and freezes well. Our backyard neighbor just had a baby so I plan on surprising them with a meal.
To finish out our week I am making a LaBamba Casserole which has ground turkey, tomatoes and other Mexican ingredients. I have posted the recipe for the shells and LaBamba casserole. Will post pics of the dishes later.
Hoping to finally finish the pendant over the kitchen table. As usual that is taking far too long than expected. Oh and tonight and tomorrow here in Nashville are supposed to be filled with severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes! Just call me Dorothy.

Stuffed Shells
4 Oz's (about 18-20) large pasta shells, cooked & drained
2 cups finely chopped cooked ham or turkey <-- the leftover ham from Easter is perfect for this recipe.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon margarine melted
1 teaspoons of Italian herbs
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Pour spaghetti sauce coating the bottom of the pan
Combine ham, ricotta cheese, salad dressing, Italian seasoning & onions mix lightly
Fill shells with ham mixture; place filled side up in a shallow baking dish.
Add 2 tablespoons cold water to dish; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Combine Parmesan cheese crumbs, parsley, and margarine, sprinkle over shells. Continue baking, uncovered, 5 minutes.

If you wish to microwave the dish . .omit the water. Cover dish and vent, microwave on high 7 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan mixture & let stand 5 minutes.
If you wish to freeze, omit the Parmesan mixture until you are ready to bake.

LaBamba Casserole
This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine, and is a crowd pleaser. I usually make this in two small pans and freeze a portion.

Hope everyone is enjoying spring like weather without the threat of tornadoes!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Window into a Menu

I inherited two old windows from my Grandfather's estate. Not exactly
every one's cup of tea but to me they were two wonderful treasures. One window I turned into a mirror. The other was hanging in my old mudroom as a whiteboard. I found the whiteboard material at Lowes. The quality was never that good, it was hard work getting the ink off so we rarely used it.

I have tried several different vinyl blackboards on my pantry door only to have them either to be terribly off center or it tore. I got the idea to cover the white board in blackboard to use it as my menu planner. I purchased the adhesive blackboard material at Michaels for under $5.
I love the outcome and the fact that I now can look at my grandfather's window everyday. In the process I also discovered chalk ink (Wet Wipe). I always wondered how markets could get such creative and smooth lines on their chalkboards! I truly am in love! :-)
Of course now my creative mind is now turning over all the other things I can cove in blackboard adhesive! I will be sure to post.

A couple of tricks working with this. Go slowly! Use an old credit card or pastry scraper to smooth it down while putting the blackboard "contact paper" on. It tears very easily so if you need to re-position it tread lightly.

So whats on my menu this week? Stay tuned I'll post it tomorrow! :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Too cute!

My hubby and I discovered Cheekwood here in TN over the weekend. I fell in love and it gave hubby a chance to play with his new camera. Our entire family had fun and I plan on posting about it later but wanted to share these pictures with you. I hope you get a chuckle out of them like I did. Honestly I think I might have been embarrassing my family a little with how tickled I was with these two squirrels.

They seemed to be okay with sharing a hole that was barely big enough for them to fit into. While we snapped away with our camera they both popped in and out of the hole several times. These are some of the good ones!

Enjoy and happy spring everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaser: Light Project

I cannot tell you how wonderful is to have my craft/creative mojo back! The story of how I changed this builder grade lamp from this:

Into a modified version of this:

Is in and of itself not a breathtaking or astonishing story. A very simple change but so much better. My next post will be the after photos. We are supposed to be getting our new kitchen table tomorrow so I want to wait to take pictures then.

What really is interesting is the story of actually getting the pendant fixture installed. It involves a tornado, electricity, some foul language, blood, a lot of sweat and yes tears! :-) I think we all have had those creative moments when the odds are stacked against us and we don't think it will ever be done.

Happy crafting!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Southern Hospitality

Being in a new town, and new neighborhood I thought I would introduce myself and show a little southern hospitality to my new neighbors. I aboslutely love my Mom's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe. So much so that I find myself secretly setting aside bananas to get a little too ripe, just to make the bread. It also is the perfect recipe to make with kids, they make great banana mashers. I think my neighbors were a little startled to see me at their door with a basket of bread but they got over it when they heard what it was. In true "Vickie" style I made simple bags (felt funny showing up with a brick of alumnium foil), stamped them and created a tag. I was even called "Suzy homemaker" by one neighbor, I am taking this as a compliment. I wanted to share the recipe, my way of saying welcome to my blog since I can't personally bake a loaf for each of you! Mom's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2 1/2 cups Flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs (you can sub Egg beaters)

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease 4 6"x3"x2" foil loaf pans. In a mediumbowl, stir flour baking soda and salt, set aside. In a large mixer bowl at medium speed beat sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add bananas and beat until well blended. At low speed beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips, pour into loaf pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in foil pans for 10 min, remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Wrap in plastic wrap then foil and store overnight before serving.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jewelry Display

I have amassed collected a good amount of costume jewelry which doesn't fit into my jewelry box and tends to apparently have fights with my other more delicate necklaces. The other problem I was facing was having to go on a treasure hunt for the matching earrings. What is a crafty girl that has just moved to do? Well I unearthed the two message boards that were taken down prior to putting our house on the market. I recovered these and now have my very own botique jewelry display. I am going to hang both of these in my closet. I wish that this would allow me to always be accessorized but this is pushing it these days.

This was a a relatively simple project. Message boards can be found all over, I have seen them at many a goodwill / garage sale. I actually purchased two at a garage sale ($5 for both). I love the natural look of the linen and stamped a dragonfly on each. Besides the red truck (which I do have a stamp of) dragonflies are my signature. We decorated my daughters room in dragonflies and my first mother's day gift was a dragonfly pendant. All I needed was the two message boards, about a 1 1/2 yards of Linen and one package of quilt batting. You will also need scissors, staple gun, and T-pins. 1) Place the message board on top of the batting and cut out the shape leaving about a 3" boarder around it. Leave the board ontop of the batting.

2) Stretch the batting over the edge and place a staple in the center of each side pull nice and tight, then move on to the corners. To make the corners smooth cut at an angle from the corner of the batting to the corner of the board, then cut again from the side edge to the corner of the board, removing a triangular section.

3)Once done fold, the side over and staple, fold the top corner at an angle and staple leaving you with a smooth edge.

4)Staple the remaining edges. Repeat with your choice of fabric.

This could be done on a piece of MDF, or even cardboard. I wanted the extra plush of the batting to sink the T pin into in. The T pins can be purchased at most craft stores and even at office supply stores. Happy Crafting everyone!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Paint Colors

What always seems like so exciting and enjoyable can quickly become overwhelming. Paint colors can totally become an obsessions. . . .I think I walked around with about 30 paint chips in my purse for the last 2 weeks! So here are some of the finalists.

Windy Blue Sherwin Williams SW6240

Macadamia Sherwin Williams SW6142

Of course my daughter really wanted to pick her own colors. It still totally confuses her little 8 year old head as to why her mother didn't paint her bedroom pink before she was born. She doesn't understand that in the womb she was just as stubborn as she is now and wouldn't cooperate and let us see she was a girl. So we did eventually did find out she was a girl but of course after I had picked out blue, green and dragonflies and lady bugs for a theme! :-)

Here is her choice:

Panache Pink by Sherwin Williams SW6848 I got some inspiration by the model home here in our neighbor hood but my daughter pinked the pink all by herself. We comprised a bit and I am painting one wall this color and the other walls a very diluted custom shade.

Here is a picture of her previous room.

Great way to create a keepsake.

A friend of mine asked me to make a garter for her wedding out of the lace from her Mom's wedding veil. I wished I had taken a picture of the veil, it was cathedral length and had 3" lace bordering the entire veil. It was very pretty. After making the garter we had a lot of lace leftover. The bride wasn't sure what to do with the remainder of the lace. I asked if I could do something for her. I made 5 pillow cases and a couple small pillows out of the lace from the veil, wonderfully soft broadcloth and vintage buttons.

The bride was able to keep a few pillows for herself and give some to her sister and Mom. It ended up being a great way to keep something so special in the family. Hope it inspires some of you to do the same.

During this process of making the pillowcases, my Mom taught me a great easy way to make the pillows. I am hoping to share the instructions in a post soon!