Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bringing the Forest Indoors

After finding so many craft ideas on Pinterest using tree branches, I convinced my lovely parents to bring some branch clippings with them on their upcoming visit from their home in the forest of Northern California.
My sweet Dad took the time to perfectly locate and trim up great size branches from not one, but THREE different local trees: oak, manzanita, and apple. Isn't he the BEST?!
I was so thrilled!

I still have yet to use them all; I keep meaning to cover a few vases and pillar candles in short branches, as shown here.

And how pretty and simplistic is this?!

One more - the lamp!!

But, my main project I did complete was a wall sculpture of glitter branches and yellow flowers, entwined with mini twinkle lights. Right??!! I was so excited.

I sprayed the branches with a metallic bronze glitter spray paint to give a subtle sparkle, per this idea here.

Then, I attached the glitter branches, (GLITTER BRANCHES!!) coupled with sprigs of silk flower branches, to the wall using these "U" brackets found at Home Depot in the pipes/plumbing section.

 I used smaller brackets than I originally assumed I'd need - if the grouping of branches in each didn't completely fill the U bracket, the branches didn't stay in their correct position, and they slid out of the brackets. It took a bit of work, but it was so worth it!

Then, to finish it off, I purchased some really cool twinkle lights, on thin copper wiring, thank you Restoration Hardware, and wove them through the branches, twisting the copper wire through the branches to secure.

The lights are battery operated, and can be on a timer.

Check out the finished project!

My own little twinkle light forest-y wonderland!
I'm in love!
So There.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blue Moooooooooon

Weekend posts call for booze! Haha.

What to do with an 'extra' delicious, citrusy, Blue Moon beer?

Make cupcakes of course!!

Aren't they so cute?!
These cupcakes turned out great - the carbonation keeps them SO light and fluffy, plus, they have a nice hint of the citrus and wheat from the beer.

Thanks to Miss Make for the recipe, which I found on Pinterest.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe with instructions on her blog.

I actually was too chicken to make a frosting with egg whites, so I used this Orange Buttercream Frosting Recipe instead, from Real Mom Kitchen's blog.

Has anyone ever made the egg white frosting? I'm afraid of, like, salmonella or something!

But, either way, you MUST make these cupcakes! Yum!

I thought I'd also share my tip for frosting cupcakes with a piping bag.
One of my friends recently Pinned this tip on Pinterest, but I have actually been using it for awhile now, so I wanted to make sure you knew about it, too!!

Now, you can totally use a plastic zip top bag as a piping bag, but I have bad luck with them busting a hole in them, so I buy these great disposable (Sorry, Mother Earth, these bags are SO are to clean and re-use, with the greasy butter frosting residue) piping bags in the baking section of Michael's, and they work great. I also have 4 or 5 metal piping tips I got from that same aisle.
I used a medium round tip for these cupcakes.

Sorry, on to the TIP!
I take a tall drinking glass, and stick the piping bag, tip first, down in it, folding the top edges over the rim of the glass.
Then, you can easily spoon the frosting into the bag, without making a globby mess all over the counter!

Speaking of Blue Moon, I went to the store looking for the Seasonal Pumpkin Ale variation of the beer, and found this intriguing variety pack I had to try! I'm a sucker for a variety pack.

After sampling all four beers...see how dedicated I am?...I can write my review!
I really love the Belgian-Style Pale Ale, similar to a Hefeweizen or something, but the Pumpkin is a little too odd for me.  I'd like to try the other brands of Pumpkin Ale, though, to give the seasonal treat a fair chance. After all, have you HEARD how obsessed with pumpkin I am?!?!
The Caramel Apple was what really sold me on this pack.  I was picturing hard apple cider, but with fall spices or something. It has a hint of caramel sweetness, but it is very similar to the Pumpkin, in that it is a bit strange to me. Bummer!

I AM considering making a spiced cupcake with one of these seasonal beers, though! Perhaps with a pumpkin spice or cinnamon frosting. I think that'd be great!

I'd like to give a shout out to my good friend Jacqueline over at Bake It With Booze, who recently featured my blog on her site! She has some amazing looking Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Buttered Rum Frosting you have got to check out! I'd like to try these with this pumpkin beer in the cupcake batter, too!
I also keep meaning to try and make her Beer Bread recipe, too!

So There.

Now linking here!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nobody's Gonna Lay a Finger...

Butterfinger candy bars are my ultimate favorite!

So, when I saw Homemade Butterfinger candy on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them out!
The cool thing about them is they are only made from 2 ingredients: candy corn, and peanut butter!
So, after Halloween, this would be the perfect recipe to use up leftover candy corn!

See the full recipe and instructions at the above link.

First, you melt the candy in the microwave, until liquefied and bubbling.

Then, immediately stir in the peanut butter.
Before it cools, aka turns rock hard and glues itself to the bowl (If this does happen, just return to microwave, to try to soften again), quickly spread the mixture into a parchment-lines pan, and allow to completely cool.

The mixture turns very crispy like the inside of a Butterfinger! One batch I made, had a bit too much peanut butter to the candy corn ratio, and ended up a bit more like Homemade Reese's...NOT a bad thing, haha.
Let cool completely, and cut the cooled candy into squares or rectangles.

Melt chocolate chips or candy melts (I used a combo of both) and dip each candy piece into chocolate.
Allow those to set and harden at room temperature, or in the fridge.

Crispety, Crunchety, Peanut Buttery!!

So There!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Pinteresting Weekend

I had a recent weekend full of Pinterest craft projects!

First, I used an inexpensive storage bin to create a craft ribbon holder. For my hair clips that I make (shameless plug), I use a lot of different colors of ribbon. I was finding myself in need of a good way to store all the spools, when I came across this great idea.


I measured the holes in the basket, and bought a thin, wodden dowel at the craft store, to cut into sections slightly wider that the bin.  I fed these though a couple rows of the holes, and hung the ribbon spools.


Next, I saw the idea to use tera cotta pots to make a cake plate-style piece to hold soap and toiletries on the bathroom counter.
I bought a terra cotta pot the height that I wanted my final piece to be. Then, I also got a terra cotta plate/dish that was the right width I needed.
I painted the pieces first, a fun, bright yellow.
I then used a metallic copper and matallic silver (leftover from this project!) paint to accent and 'antique' the piece, to give it some character.
Once dry, I attached the two pieces with Gorilla Glue, using the tutorial found here.


Voila!! Cake stand turned bathroom counter storage.

Finally, I had several clear glass vases that were a bit tired and needed some sprusing up! They all three had interesting shapes, but needed some color!
One three-sided vase I chose to wrap with twine, hot gluing along the way to secure.

The other two vases, I painted, using the technique found here of painting the inside of the vase, instead of the outside. I painted one a bright turquoise, and the other I used a sunny yellow.

Craft weekend =  a success!!
So there!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


To say I am a little obsessed with all things Pumpkin lately, would be the understatement of the season...but I doooon't caaaaaaare!!!!!
I dove full force into Fall Decor and Food and I'm not coming up for air until February :)
So There.

Trader Joe's has an abnormally large amount of seasonal pumpkin products right now, which I was ALL over.
I still want to go back for the pumpkin breakfast bars, and perhaps some ice cream.

The pumpkin cream cheese spread is amazing, you can almost (I absolutely did) eat it plain, but it is wonderful on toast...or a bagel, or pumpkin bread.
I love pumpkin butter, which, if you've never had it, isn't actually butter, but, more like a concentrated applesauce type spread, with great sweetness and spicy flavor. I drizzle this over pumpkin pancakes or the toast with the cream cheese.
I actually liked the greek yogurt, but it is not overly sweet, like pumpkin pie; rather very much a yogurt taste, with a lot of nutmeg.
The macarons are pretty typical, but fabulous nonetheless. They come from the freezer section, and should sit out and thaw about 30min before serving (who has time for that?! Perhaps, if I had, my rating may have been even higher)
Pumpkin Chai Tea mix is lovely, very much a combo between a Starbucks PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte, duh!) and their Chai Tea Latte.  It definitely is very sweet; I prefer this as an evening dessert (Yeah, I drink caffeine after 3pm, heck, after 9pm, and sleep just fine. *Shrug*), rather than to replace my morning English Breakfast tea. Too sweet for me first thing in the morning.
I know, I know, as much as I love desserts, I drink hot tea plain with no milk or sugar. I don't like overly sweet drinks, only food!
The pumpkin puree, I added to pancakes this morning, and made a yummy concoction by also adding sliced banana, diced apples, oats, lots of vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, as well as cream cheese to the whole wheat pancake batter. These pancakes I served (surprisingly!) with a drizzle of pumpkin butter and a dollop of pumpkin cream cheese. YUM! I love weekend breakfasts!

So, last on my Trader Joe's list is the ravioli, which I plan on having for dinner very soon.
The honey roasted flavor sounds amazing...I have been trying to decide what type of sauce to pair the pasta with.
World Market sells a pumpkin sauce made to serve over pasta, but I am also thinking a browned butter (with sage or rosemary?) topped with ricotta cheese and a honey drizzle might be nice, too. TBD.

Next up, a tutorial run down of my little Pumpkin Forest I've created!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Who's The Fairest of Them All...?

I wanted a really cool mirror to put above my bedroom vanity and jewelry area. Yes, I have a jewelry "area".  Don't be jealous.
I found a beautiful mirror at Ikea for $40, but it was just black plastic, and looked a bit cheap, and just too modern for my taste. 


The wrought iron-type style was great, though, so I decided I could fix it with a bit of paint.
I decided to get 2 colors: a metallic copper and metallic silver. I used a foam brush to highlight some of the curves and details on the mirror with the paint, to create the effect of aged metal.
I was really happy with how it turned out.



Good thing about this mirror being plastic, too, and not metal, is how lightweight it is, and therefore, very easy to hang when the painting was complete!

Ta da! Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall!

So there.

All Dressed Up

I found this adorable idea from a blog, and started making these baby onesies as baby shower gifts for a couple friends!

After my love / hate relationship thus far with my sewing machine skills, I was glad to find these were made using only an iron-on fusible webbing material to attach the fabric to the onesie.  The tutorial I used does go on to sew around the ironed-on tie, creating a true applique. I skipped this (re: said love / hate relationship), and my friends I have given these to, have said these lasted through several washing machine cycles with only the iron-on fusing. Whew.

Get some cute fabric and your iron ready...

This blog, Crap I've Made - Tie Onesie Tutorial, gives all the details perfectly. It even includes a PDF template to print and use to cut out the tie shapes from the fabric/webbing.

The webbing was found at JoAnns fabric store, and sheets can be cut into any shape. This pack of 5 sheets was $4; very reasonable.
Lite Steam-a-Seam 2: Double Stick Fusible Web Sheets

Using this method is a very simple way to 'applique' any shape onto clothing, tote bags, and more!
Fuse your heart out!

So there.

I'm Baaaaaaaaaack...

Wow, sorry my last post was IN JANUARY!!!
Since that post was about my new found LOVE of Pinterest (The love is still goin' strong, don't you worry), we'll say my free time got eaten up by that.

I still have been crafting some stuff, and cooking a lot.  I just kind of felt like posting a photo on Facebook of my delicious meals or home decor projects was sufficient.
BUT! With all the fun Fall & Winter Holidays just around the corner (I'm not quite ready to let go of summer just yet...getting close. The Pumpkin Spice Latte has helped a bit), I thought I might be doing more fun stuff that y'all would like to read about!

I also want to share all the meals and crafts you've missed out on in the past NINE months, oh emm gee, HOW did you survive?! So, if you also follow me on Facebook, sorry, those photos are making a deja vu comeback!

I'm back, B*tches.
So there!!