Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Boy With Good Taste

Apparently I'm not the only one who loves Orla. I came into my office to see MiniB enjoying his snack in my Orla storage bin (see the bowl?). I love that he made the effort to empty the bin just to sit in it to enjoy his raisins one-by-one. When he was done, he got out and then put everything back (messily but who cares). I love this kid.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mystery Project

I can't wait to show the the results of my Mystery Project. Stay tuned. My hope is to have it completed by the end of the weekend.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can't Stop Yo-Yoing....

I bought one of those handy Clover Yo-Yo makers and shoot....I'm addicted. I don't have any purpose for them but I don't really care. They're just easy and fun. The thrill you get when you pull them tight is almost as satisfying as when you peel an egg and the entire shell comes off in one piece. You know the feeling I'm talking about?
So I sit in front of the tv at night just making yo-yos for no other reason than they're a fun way to use some of my scraps. I did use some leftover fabric from my Taxi Tote to make MiniMe some barrettes.

And MiniB at least seems to love to pile my yo-yos in the back of his dump truck and drive them around. Are you a Yo-yo addict? Tell me what I must do to stop. I make mini yo-yos, large ones, and I'm about ready to go buy the extra large maker! Must. Stop. The. Madness.

Edited after posting: You can purchase the Clover Yo-Yo makers in the quilting section of any craft store. They are plastic discs that range in size so that you can make many different sizes of yo-yos. The price of the makers is about $6. Since I'm getting questions, I'll post a picture of them soon!

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Wall Plates

I received a few questions about my plates that were in the background of the finished curtains in this post. A couple of years ago, I found the plates themselves in a consignment shop. I knew I needed them the moment I saw them. I didn't have a plan but then awhile later I saw something similar to what I now have hanging in Martha Stewart Living. I purchased silver drawer knobs and ribbon and it was that easy. I worried the ribbon and/or knobs wouldn't be able to hold the weight of the plates over time so I secured the plates with a nail that is hiding behind the ribbon.

If I ever change my color scheme, all I need to do is buy new ribbons. I love the simplicity of that idea!

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finished Taxi Tote

I finished the Taxi Tote from Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me book. I purchased the fabric in New York from Purl Soho. MiniMe loves this purse. It is too big for her now but I'll put it away for her for a later time. Please go out and get Anna Maria's book--it is a must have!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Snack Time

My kids love their snack time and their snack table. They're so cute how they wait for their snack and then share and devour. Good times.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm a Winner!

Wooo Hooo! I actually won something--a little girl's apron (love the fabric!), a cookbook, and some measuring spoons. MiniMe confiscated the spoons for her mini kitchen. Oh well. The book has some great recipes. And the pictures and layout are so cute. Isn't it funny how good pictures make all the difference with a cook book? Thanks to Sarah for holding her contest! She packaged everything so beautifully. I love that!

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Out of Control Orla

I posted here when I began collecting Orla items from Target. Well, I'm out of control. I've since purchased some mugs, cups, and placemats. When you can't afford the purses, you go overboard with the home decor!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finished Curtains

Awhile back I posted when I began this curtain project. I finished them some time ago and realized I never posted pictures of my finished curtains. I love them! I was worried about the grommets but they were easy peasy! If you are intimidated by grommets, don't be.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Yum-bo Gumbo!

In honor of upcoming Fat Tuesday (February 24)festivities, I have a fabulous Gumbo recipe. I hope by providing it a week early, it will give you the opportunity to get all the ingredients! We had an awesome Sunday dinner eating gumbo and listening to jazz musicians. MiniMe and MiniB danced around to Harry Connick Jr. and Frank Sinatra. It was fun.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - chopped
10 oz. turkey kielbasa sausage - sliced
1 cup olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 quarts chicken broth (I use 1 1/2 of the large cans)
1 bottled beer
4 celery stalks, diced
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
1 (10 ounce) can original Rotel
1 tablespoon red chile powder
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 bag frozen Okra (rinsed)
1/8 cup Cajun seasoning
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Gumbo file powder
OPTIONAL--I like to make some brown rice and dump the rice in at the end of the process. You can also serve the gumbo on the rice or not have rice at all if you prefer.

1. Prepare your proteins--slice the kielbasa, cut the chicken breasts and peel and devein the shrimp.

2. Cook chicken pieces thoroughly. Stir in sausage, and cook until evenly browned. Drain chicken and sausage, and set aside.

3. In a large soup pot blend olive oil and flour over medium heat to create a roux. Stir constantly until browned and bubbly (My roux takes about 20 minutes and it takes on a nutty scent and the mixture is a nice taupe brown). Mix in garlic, and cook about 1 minute.

4. Gradually stir chicken broth and beer into the roux mixture. Bring to a boil, and mix in celery, diced tomatoes, onion, Rotel, red chile powder, parsley, okra, and Cajun seasoning. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 40 minutes, stirring often.
Mix chicken, sausage, and shrimp into the broth mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Stir in brown rice if you like your gumbo with rice (optional). Serve. Top with sprinkle of gumbo file powder.

I like to eat mine with some fresh sourdough bread.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope that you and yours have a special one!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Party Preparation

My evening consisted of making Rice Crispy Valentine's Pops (also known as, I had some really good coupons for marshmallows and Rice Crispies that were about to expire so Wah La!).

Tomorrow MiniMe has her Pre-K Valentine's party so we molded warm Rice Crispy treats into heart-shaped cookie cutters. Then we peppered pink and red sprinkles on them. The lollipop sticks and cellophane bags are from Jo-Ann's. We hole-punched heart shapes on her cards and strung the silver trash ties through the hearts and closed off the bags. It was easy, it was fun, it looks cute, and what kid doesn't just love Rice Crispy treats? Or what adult doesn't? I know I ate way too much when we were done. Ugh!

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saturday Mornings

I love that MiniMe raves on and on about my blueberry muffins. She can out-eat me! The moment we pull them out of the oven, she's all over them. When you find a meal or treat that your kids absolutely look forward to, you find so much joy in making it for them. So, that is what I do at least one or two Saturdays a month. I wake up early, feed the dogs and quietly make the muffins for breakfast. Sometimes MiniMe will come downstairs and help. When she doesn't, I surprise her by telling her there are fresh muffins ready downstairs and she hops out of bed with excitement. It is a sweet time for us as a family to sit around the table eating warm, fresh muffins and start our day. Do you have a fun Saturday morning tradition or recipe?

My recipe is taken from Joy of Cooking. I've altered it a bit as I've learned how my oven works in high altitude and I prefer brown sugar to regular granulated sugar. I also sprinkle a touch of cinnamon, which I think makes them extra tasty. But this JoC recipe is the best I've ever made by far!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Sinfulness

I would call myself a cinnamon roll connoisseur. My first encounter began the summer of 1985. We lived in Arlington, Virginia, very close to the Ballston Common metro stop. My mom worked in Washington D.C., and about once a week, my step-brother and I would meet her and share a cinnamon roll at T.J. Cinnamon's Bakery. Been there? The smell is so ENTICING. Cinnamon roll smell makes me feel very nostalgic and happy.

Then, while in college at UNM in Albuquerque, I admit that I frequented The Frontier where they churn out fresh cinnamon rolls like there is no tomorrow. Believe me when I say that I never needed an excuse to eat a fresh, hot, buttery cinnamon roll. It's Tuesday? Why not have a cinnamon roll? Got an A on a test? Hey, let's get a cinnamon roll! I've consumed rolls while listening to girlfriend's sob stories, during study breaks (it was the place to study), after a night out (The Frontier was open 24/7), and while sobbing over my own life issues.

I've also been known to eat Cinnabon at most major airports that I have visited though I've backed off that in my thirties because the pounds aren't as easy to keep off! And I live within short driving distance to Johnson's Corner (home of the world famous cinnamon roll) and Silver Grill Cafe (home of the famouse GIANT cinnamon roll). Check out the link because they have a whole write up on their cinnamon roll history.

All this just to tell you that I made A Black Apple's recipe for cinnamon rolls and it was, well, awesome! And I ought to know!

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oh La La.....Orla!

I have fallen in love with Orla Kiely's designs. Her purses are some of the most beautiful handbags I've ever seen (though sadly out of my price range). Her travel bag collection would turn any head in any airport anyday. Too cute. I'd wallpaper my whole bathroom in her orange stem design if I could. But now Target is selling some of her housewares! I grabbed these goodies for my studio. Go get some of your own! Maybe Target will decide to start carrying Orla sheets, Orla pillows, Orla placemats, Orla underwear. Heck, anything Orla! Bring on the Orla!

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Things Kids Do and Say

File this one under "What can go wrong when I turn my head for a second." I was on my computer when I turned my head and saw this scene. He's crying because I asked him to come down. Ten minutes later he's climbing into our deep tub. MiniB is such a different child than MiniMe. I am fascinated by a boy's nature to climb and explore without regard to consequence. It is both cute and scary at times.

As and for what funny things kids can say, here is an interesting conversation MiniMe and I had:

Scene: I'm combing MiniMe's hair and getting her ready in the morning. She's making funny faces in the mirror (as usual).
MiniMe: You know what I wish mama?
Me: What sweetie?
MiniMe: I wish Obama was my daddy and his wife was my mommy.
Me: Oh really?
MiniMe: But I wouldn't love them as much as you and daddy. I'd just get to wear pretty dresses and dance at balls too.

Ah, my princess always has her agendas. Saturday mornings are fun in the Mader house!

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Purl Bee Rocks!

You have to visit this link to get directions on how to make these cute little heart pins. I just love The Purl Bee. I made mine in about 20 minutes--they were so easy! I'm thinking that MiniMe and I will make one for all 12 kids in her class.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Owly Goodness

Boy are owls in! I've always had a special place in my heart for owls so I'm happy they're popular right now. My mom had a cute owl nick-nack made of sea shells that every once in awhile she would let me hold. I even got to take it to show-and-tell. Oh and of course there was the owl that counted how many licks it took to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop. And my favorite owl, Woodsy, whose wise words, "Give a hoot, don't pollute" still apply today. My uncle worked for the Forest Service so I had a surplus of Woodsy supplies.

I'm posting a few of my favorite owl images that are out there. Just go to Etsy and type in "owl" and see all of the cute items that are available!

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Homemade Bread

I wish I had more time on my hands (doesn't everyone?). I'd bake bread for my family every single week. There is just something about pulling those fresh loaves out of the oven and smelling their warm, yummy, goodness that makes you feel good about life. When the loaves are still warm, I will cut a piece for the kids and spread a little butter and honey. It makes them happy, which makes me happy.

I've been working on this recipe for some time now. It still needs some work. The flavor is excellent--a little sweet and just the right wheat/white flour combination. But the consistency could use some work. My loaves always feel a bit heavy and not as light and airy as I hoped. They aren't like bricks or anything but they do feel a bit dense. If you have any advice, please share. It is a work in progress!
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Finished Embroidery

I finally finished my flower patch embroidery project. It took me longer than I thought it would. My plan is to get this framed and matted for my home office.

I had a really hard time finding an embroidery project to begin with. I went to my library, Barnes & Noble, Jo-Anns, and looked online. I found this project here. I just opened a Word doc and inserted the picture as a graphic image. Then I resized it to make it larger. I then had to use DMC Embroidery Tracing Paper to get the image on my linen. If you have an embroidery book you love, please let me know! I heard that Alicia is writing an embroidery book. She wrote about it here. I can't wait!

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