Wednesday, June 29, 2011

DIY Matching Baby Booties, Bib & Hat

I've been seeing a lot of great up-cycling blog posts about taking an old piece of clothing and reusing it to make something new. I found this old shirt I used to love and thought it would be cute fabric for some baby accessories.
How could I resist these cute booties? I used a pattern from Stardust Shoes.

I made the bib by tracing an old one for size. I used stretchy cotton fabric for the front and terry cloth for the back.
Baby hats are too darn cute not to have, so I made sure to save some extra fabric for one. These were made using a tutorial from Make it and Love it.
Hope the set looks cute on the baby!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Healthy Black Bean Brownies

I'm back! We had some drama last week after a bad storm in the Chicago area. We got hit pretty hard on Tuesday and then the power went out on Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday. Let's just say it wasn't a very fun experience to live in a house with no power or technology for that long. Seriously, there's nothing to do besides play with my cat who loses interest after 4 minutes! The power is back up now and I'm happy to be back to normal life again!

Anyway, I'm a little sneaky : )

I was dying to make these and then see who would notice that they weren't "normal" brownies. So I made a batch for someone's birthday at work and put them out with all the other treats. In a meeting later in the day, someone mentioned that they liked the brownies and then everyone else chimed in on how good they were. All I said was that there was a special ingredient and no one ever knew what it was! So if you're grossed out by this, I promise they still taste fabulous! I ate half the batch on my own!

Recipe from Local Fun for Kids

• 1 box of Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Family Size Brownie Mix
• 15.5 oz. can of black beans
• water

Empty the can of black beans into a colander and rinse with water.

Pour the black beans back into their original can and fill it with water.

Use a blender to puree the beans and the water.

In a bowl, mix the black bean & water mixture with the package of brownie mix.

Pour mixture in a greased pan and bake according to the directions on the box.

*Optional: top with powdered sugar when cooled for a little extra sweetness.

Fabulous and guilt-free!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Buffet Saga & Makeover

This story could literally be a novel, but I'll try to just get the basics as I explain the saga of the buffet...

Back in January of 2010, we decided we needed a little buffet or cabinet to fit in this area of our family room. After searching for months, I quickly realized that it was impossible to find one in the size and color we needed. I found this small store where you could order pretty much any size wood cabinet and they would finish it in whatever color you needed. Perfect!

We ordered it and were told it would be here in 8-10 weeks. 8-10 weeks came and went and we still didn't have our cabinet. Every phone call to the store was excuses and excuses and they kept saying it was coming on a certain date in the future. The entire summer was spent wondering where the darn thing was!

In August, I called again and no one would pick up the phone. WTF? Did the company close or what? I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and a problem solver column in the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Both did their share of research and were not able to help when we found out the company filed for bankruptcy. Hours spent online were helpful and I was able to find some others who were in a similar situation with this store. I started calling the bankruptcy attorneys to try to get some answers.

Finally, I was told the store had some stock in the back that they never delivered and I could come by to see if my cabinet was there. Luckily, it was there, BUT it was not finished and we paid for it to be stained black. They let me have some free stain and we took it home to attempt to finish it.

So here's a look at our cabinet in the garage when we got it home. Honestly, we figured if we can drywall, tile, paint, and do minor electrical and plumbing, how hard can it be to stain something?
Let's just say it didn't go as well as we expected. Here's a bit of our mess after 3 different kinds of stain plus hours and hours of sanding.

After everything we've been through with this cabinet, we were fed up! We gave up and decided to paint it black. And even that didn't go as planned! The garage was too dusty so we had to bravely paint with black in our living room!

FINALLY, months and months later, here's our finished buffet in it's spot in the family room.
I covered the bottom of the drawers in black felt so we can store our China and other serving pieces in there.
And of course, some fun accessories!

So glad to be done with this!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Summer Wish List

I did this last year so I figured it might be fun to do it again.

First, I'm going to look at my summer of 2010 list and see how much we actually did. (This might be embarrassing...) Unfortunately, the summer didn't turn out as planned and we had some hard times, so some of these got put on the back burner as we coped with it. But we did still accomplish a lot of them!

1. go for a bike ride - I did in the driveway...does that count?

2. dine al fresco - I know one time we went to the KFC drive-thru and then brought our food to the forest preserve and ate it while we watched the Des Plaines River. We also had a picnic at Carved Rock in Rockford, IL and I took a bunch of pretty pictures of the sailboats.

3. have a cigar night in the backyard (kind of an inside joke b/c we did this at our old house on the balcony off our bedroom one day) - This never ended up happening. However, this year, Hubby has already checked this off his list.

4. buy ice cream from the truck that drives around our neighborhood every night - I know we never did this, but we did go to Dairy Queen a few too many times!

5. run my first 5k race (as long as my body isn't broken) -
I missed my first one when I found out I was pregnant, but I did do it later! So happy about this one!

6. do cartwheels in the grass like the neighborhood kids - Not that I can remember, but I bet I did while Hubby was mowing the lawn and laughing at me.

7. feed ducks in the park (I'm supposed to do this alone because I was told I am too old for this) -
While we waited for my D&C surgery to be scheduled, I wanted to get out of the house, so I convinced Hubby to walk around the lake by our house with me. I brought bread and fed the ducks and geese (who chased after me once I ran out of bread). I also spent way too much time in the petting zoo area at Brookfield Zoo feeding and petting the animals like I was 4 years old.8. go to a tapas restaurant - We went for our anniversary in August. Here I am posing with my anniversary gift before dinner. Yeah, I'm a dork.
9. hit up my usual summer craft fairs - Done, but I don't think I bought anything

10. do something fun for our anniversary in August -
Done! See #8

So for this year, our plans will be a little different now that we have a little boy coming! But there's still so much to do!

1. Have a healthy baby boy in August (or September if he's late!)

2. Bring back #4 from last year. I must buy ice cream from the ice cream truck. I have now been told I have a 6th sense for when it's coming. I can hear that song in the house with the a/c on and the tv blaring!

3. Dine al fresco as we did last year as well. One of my favorite things to do!

4. We've been going crazy trying to get things done in the house before the baby comes. I really want to have all our new doors & trim installed by the time he's born. Then it will be time for a major home renovation break.

5. Get the nursery finished. It's our priority before the other house projects and it's on its way to being completed.

6. Start trying to do some cooking again. I went through a lazy time when I just didn't have the energy, but I'd at least like to try some new recipes during the summer when I'm more motivated.

7. Continue trying to work out a few times a week. I've cut down from my hardcore 5x a week, but 2-3 is good for me. Hopefully, I can keep it up until it's really uncomfortable.

8. Enjoy myself and relax as much as possible now. Our lives will never be the same again!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Easy Cucumber Sandwiches

My tastes have changed since I got pregnant. I was out at a restaurant eating a bagel and cream cheese with some veggies on the side. I had some leftover cream cheese and just came up with this idea to spread it on my cucumber. Amazing! The taste reminded me of one of my favorite simple appetizers - cucumber sandwiches!

These are perfect for someone like me that likes to eat healthy and doesn't want to spend a long time cooking. I started eating them for dinner and I love it!

• mini rye bread (or something else if you prefer)
• cream cheese
• sliced cucumber
• dill weed

Spread cream cheese evenly on bread.

Top with a slice of cucumber.

Sprinkle dill weed on top.

Pig out!

Partying it up at these weekly link parties

Monday, June 6, 2011

DIY Summery Linen Scarf

This was one of my recent thrift store bargains. I was looking for maternity shirts and came across this really pretty sheer linen blouse for $2.
I loved the rhinestone details! I figured if it didn't fit, I could use it for a cute scarf instead. It didn't end up fitting my baby bump, so it became a scarf!
I started out by trying to get as many strips of fabric as I could from the shirt. It's a little hard to work with such light fabric, but if it's not perfect, it shouldn't matter too much.
From the back and front of the shirt, I was able to make 4 strips to create the scarf. I left the edges unfinished and sewed all 4 pieces together to make one long piece. (My fun green paint in my craft room looks horrible in photos, yuck)
I used the sleeves of the shirt to add some cute flowers. I cut thin strips of fabric (they don't even need to be even or perfect cuts). I put a drop of Elmer's glue on one end.
The I slowly rolled, twisted, and glued to create a circular shape. There's no right way to do this so you just kinda learn as you go. The glue dried clear so you can use as much as you need to make it stick.
When I was done with each flower, I glued the end flap down.
I pulled off some extra rhinestones from some of the shirt scraps and glued them on to the flowers.

I ended up with 3 different-sized flowers for each end of the scarf.I used Elmer's Glue to attach the flowers to the scarf, but I realized that would mean you'd see glue on the back of the scarf. To avoid that problem, I added a light pink layer of fabric as the back of the scarf.
I love it! It's so light and perfect for summer! Also a good way to hide a bulging baby bump or post-baby bump : )

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