Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Obsession of the Day: Bringing Grass Into the Home

My iPhone came in.   Gone are the days of the cell phone guy transferring your contact list for ya.  I'll deal with that later.  And the iCloud?  Are ya kidding me?  That ate about 2 hours of my day up.  I'm sure it will be worth it in the end, though.  My husband got an iPad for his birthday in July and I don't think we've plugged it into a computer since - the software upgrade took 35 minutes!  I need to stay more abreast of technology apparently.  All I knew was my Joann app and Words with Friends was still working okay. 

Today's topic:  I love the use of grass in design elements.  It brings a little bit of outside in and I LOVE the color green.  When I see something grasslike in a house I think "fun" and "clean" for some reason.  We recently acquired this as part of Evelyn's birthday party decorations - courtesy of Signed, Sealed, Delivered in Rogers.

I keep finding myself staring at it and thinking of all sorts of ideas to use the grass for.  It'll be perfect for an Easter centerpiece! 

It also made me think....which is dangerous.....and I remembered I have some pics from the 3.14 Hotel I stayed at in Cannes that had grass covered furniture (not real grass).  Granted, it was outside, but still fun. 

The website it worth a look - this hotel was CRAZY!  Joe and I stayed in a Moulin Rouge themed room and his mom and sister were in a Balinese type room~it came complete with our own "love making kit" which we still have, untouched. 

I'm going to start out with some useful items!  We have two of these drying racks on our countertop and I adore them.  I don't just use them for E's stuff.  They are great to dry wine glasses and all kinds of stuff (ex: paint brushes, plastic storage containers and lids), and are more interesting to the eye than the two-story white spinning bottle rack which I had before I purchased these. 


Photo courtesy of

This next one should probably be on my Dude's gift list as well.  It's just fun. 

Photo courtesy of Kikkerland Designs

Here are some great pillows from Inhabit Living that start at $45 - they have them in many sizes.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

I'm really loving this one. 
Courtesy of Chair Couture

Courtesy of Waterware, Inc.

I ran a quick search in Google for "grass fabric" and had tons of hits.  If you are interested in purchasing some fabric for use in your own home, try out  They had a few different choices. 

Come back tomorrow for some talk about babies!

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Gift Ideas for Non-Dudes like Ladies and Babies

I'm keeping it short and sweet since the length of this entry is LLLooooonngggg because of all the pics.  Please comment with your great gift ideas!  Everybody needs help thinking up stuff to give.

The ultimate wine bottle opener that makes you feel like a bad ass when you use it:  The Cork Pops Legacy.  In short, you stab the needle through the cork and press the button.  It then sends a shot of carbon dioxide into the bottle and the pressure makes the cork pop right out!  It's so easy, it's stupid.  You can buy replacement needles and cartridges.  I've had mine for I think 3 years and only replaced the cartridge twice so far.  I do run into the occasional cork that is too porous for this to work, so keep your other opener just in case. 

Pic is courtesy of

These are some of my favorite go to gifts for kids.  DixieBelle Gifts screen prints these amazingly soft shirts that are personalized!  I can speak from experience that these shirts don't shrink; the quality is top notch.  The 0-6 month sizes are onesies and then they have t-shirts all the way up to 6 years.  Every year I get Evelyn two long sleeved shirts and they last until she grows out of them.  I buy them big and she wears them tunic style and then grows into them through the winter.  They also have bags and blankies as well as onesies specific for little babies with designs on the rear.  Here are some of my fav designs this season.

All shirt pics are courtesy of DixieBelle Gifts

For the Family:
I have one of these myself and adore it and get compliments all the time.  Again, from DixieBelle Gifts are House Number Pots. I have a red one that has our last name on it and I adore it.  I'm about to plant some pansies in it and put it out front on our stoop.  You can get your house number, your last name, just an initial, your last name and the year your family was established.  Very cute.  Each one is hand painted by Jenny herself (Jenny is the owner of DixieBelle Gifts).  She started out by making one of these for her Grandmother and they became quite a hit!  The pots are 12 inch terra cotta.  Check them out.

Pics are courtesy of

For the Ladies:

Graphic Image is my new favorite gift website.  Most of the items come in multiple colors and you can have them personalized.  They have many different items for each kind of technology like phones, eReaders, and eTablets.  I'm dying to get this iPad cover....

.....and this iPhone cover.......

And check out these luggage tags - only $25 with the option of getting your initial gold stamped too!
The crocodile ones below are $29

Pics are courtesy of

People Magazine Subscription

Pic is courtesy of

What lady doesn't love celebrity gossip?  Joe got my subscription for me three Christmases ago and I love it.  He always jokes he got his money's worth because I literally read them every Friday night cover to cover and even do the crossword.  You can give the gift of People here.

Sweet Potato Souffle and Post Thanksgiving Reflection

I don't know about yall, but Thanksgiving wore me out this year.  We had it at our house and I cooked everything for the main course - which is usually no big deal, but afterwards I was really fighting sleep and continued to do so until this morning.  Maybe Joe and I were just taking advantage of not having to do anything. 

Joe has been working 60+ hour weeks at work because of year end for the past month and a half, so it was very nice to spend time with him.  I knew I had missed him, but not how much until I had him back.

Enough of me being sentimental.  Thanksgiving Day this year also marked the day Evie dropped my phone in the potty during an extended attempt to go pee pee in the potty. I thought maybe watching some YouTube videos would relax her and allow her know.  Instead she dropped it in the potty and I stupidly tried to turn it on and fried the entire thing.  So I have my first iPhone shipping to me right now.  I'm a little nervous about  not having the security of my QWERTY keyboard from my Blackberry, but I'm sure I will persevere.

Evelyn also went poo poo in the potty for the first time - it was epic.  Enough said.  I don't want to embarass her too much.

We also bought a couch for our Bonus Room upstairs after much overanalyzing done by both Joe and myself (you can take the girl out of accounting, but can't take the accounting out of a girl).  Right now we watch TV from the comfort of our floor, so it's kinda a big deal.

Profound Thanksgiving Reflection:  (drumroll, please)  The best thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  The worst thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers. 

Leftovers are bad because we have sooooo many leftovers that we will eventually throw out and I feel wasteful.  Why won't people take leftovers with them?  We actually had an entire pumpkin pie still in tact after having a 14 family member dinner.  I blame Joe entirely, because he requested a peanut butter pie from my mom and everyone was intrigued and wanted to try it this year.

Leftovers are good because they are sooooo good.  We've had 2 leftover meals since Thanksgiving dinner and I'm still looking forward to another leftover lunch today.  Why don't I make this meal more often?

My favorite leftover and this year's big hit was the Sweet Potato Souffle I made.  My parents gave me The Los Barrios Family Cookbook two Octobers ago after meeting the author, Dianna Barrios Trevino.  In short, they own a renowned Mexican restaurant in San Antonio.  Low and behold the most amazing sweet potato casserole recipe was inside this cookbook.  It was the first thing I made when I got it and Joe and Evelyn have both gobbled it up every meal since.  I've made a few changes to the original recipe - for one, I reduced the amount of sugar by half.  That's how sweet this thing is!!  Joe was not a sweet potato fan before I started making this, so it's really worth a try.

Ingredients for souffle:
2 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
3/4th cup sugar
6 Tablespoons of butter
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan. Combine the above ingredients (I use a mixer) and put in the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until it sets.

While the souffle is baking, prepare the topping.

Topping ingredients:
6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup crushed cornflakes (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix the ingredients and when the souffle is done with it's initial cooking period, spread this on top and cook an additional 10 minutes.

I had never tried the cornflakes before Thursday, but I went ahead and tried it and did not like it as much as just the butter, sugar, and pecans.  Joe hates pecans so I leave those out often and it's still delicious. 

Now it's time for Christmas decor to go up.  That should keep me busy for a few days as well as the many crafts and projects I have planned.  Come back and visit soon!  I'll have some gift ideas, DIY projects, and obsessions going out this week! Besos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Italian Meatballs

This one is a bit of work, but not too much and definitely worth it.  Months ago I was googling for the perfect Italian meatball recipe and who would have thought that about 170 different middle aged Italian women claim that theirs is the best.  So I spent the last hour at work one afternoon (sorry Kenya!) combining a few different recipes and coming up with something pretty great on my own. 

I do make a double batch and freeze half so that next time I get a hankering I can just pull a container out of the freezer and Boom! dinner is done. That and it's easier to buy 16 ounces of meat than 8. *wink

16 ounces ground beef
16 ounces italian sausage (last time I used Hot sausage and I will say I don't think they were as good)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
6 Tablespoons red wine (I use Zinfindel)
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
1 cup seasoned italian breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese (I use Kraft shredded parmesan)
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried basil

Start with beating the eggs in a small bowl, then add in the red wine and tomato paste.  Set this bowl aside.

Place the beef and sausage in a large bowl and blend with your hands.  Then add the breadcrumbs and the rest of the dry ingredients. After that is thoroughly mixed, add in the egg mixture from earlier. 

If the mixture seems a little wet, add some more breadcrumbs a few Tablespoons at a time.  If the mixture seems dry, add more tomato paste.

I then just use my hands to roll the mixture into balls and place them on a non-stick cookie sheet.  Pop them in the over at 400 degrees.  Let them cook for 10 minutes.  Then turn them and cook for another 10 minutes.

I then put the meatballs into a large pot with my red sauce and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  This really adds to the flavor for both the meatballs and the sauce. I use Rao's Marinara Sauce.  Unbeknownest to me the first time I purchased it, it runs like $7 a bottle!  But it is seriously the best sauce I've ever had.  They carry it at both Wal-Mart and Target.

To help cut down on costs I usually use a bottle of Rao's and then add a bottle of Ragu's Super Chunky Mushroom. 

Then I serve with angel hair pasta and a little monzarella and parmesan.  Dinner is served!

If Evelyn loves it, you should love it.  I did take her dress off before we ate that night.

Gift Ideas for Dudes

I had a busy week last week kids.  E's bday was Wednesday.  Then Thursday I decided to drive to Dallas and go to Chi Omega Christmas Market (always worth it) and then drive back home Friday to throw E a small bday party Saturday.  (Pics to come of decor).  Now I'm back and since I'm near hyperventilating about what the heck to buy people for Christmas, I'm going to post some ideas I have and hope for other suggestions in return!

Note:  I was not a Chi O, and was not a part of any sorority in college.  My friend Amy has been the chair the past 2 years for the Christmas market and I just love going.

For Dudes:
My husband won one of these at the Chi Omega Christmas auction last year........

Courtesy of Home Fields, Inc.

Quite simply, it's a replica of Cowboys stadium and it's 3 dimensional and on the back it has a brief history.  I thought "That's kinda lame, but he can put it in his office at work and I'll never have to see it."  Well, Joe did put it in his office and gets compliments on it all the time.  So when I told him last minute "Hey I'm going to Dallas to shop the market", he asked if I would get him Rangers Stadium for him to display as well.

I think it's a good time to note that having 3 of something constitutes a collection.  So if you have 2 chickens or roosters displaying in your kitchen, you are walking a fine line between kitchy and crazy.

Now, when I go to the market I have a system of attack.  I walk/shop the outside perimeter first and then go up and down each row.  Take your time.  I found out last year (my first year) after 2 visits and hundreds of dollars spent that you should just take your time and hit it up once and early in the week before it gets picked over.  Oh, and take a stroller sans baby so you can carry all the stuff you buy easier.

Back to gifts, anyway, I get to this particular booth towards the end of my shopping and there is a line of Dudes and a line of wives all buying these for their husbands and dads.  The ones Joe has are like 9 inches wide and 4 inches high.  I didn't realize they made ones that are Ginormous and light up too!  Seeing all of these displayed before me, they are actually pretty cool, and granted I'm a girl who loves her some sports, but they are pretty awesome.  The collegiate ones are even better than the pro ones because they have the mascot on them.  Example below. (Go Hogs!!!!! #3 Ranked! Beat LSU! Woo Pig Sooie!!)

Courtesy of Home Fields, Inc.

Joe's probably gonna get the Razorback Stadium next year - unless they start doing the NBA arenas and then we will for sure be getting the AAC (Go Mavs! Reigning Champions!!!)

Anyway, Dudes love these things.  Make a Dude in your life happy.  The smaller size costs $40. I know, it is a little pricey, but you'll have yourself a happy dude.  They also sell little acrylic cases for both sizes and I did get one of those for my Dad.  There is something about the case that makes it look even more 3 dimensional.  I think the acrylic must distort it (in a good way).  Visit Home Fields, Inc.  to order. 

Next Gift:
All men are really just little boys inside.  That's why last year I bought my Dad this:

Courtesy of

Note the age on the box is for men boys aged 10-12.  Well, my Dad is 69 years old and loved this thing.  He gets a real kick out of shooting the missles at my Mom too.  I've had some other lady friends get these for Dudes in their life too and every one of them loves it.  Just do it.

Click here for more gift ideas. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DIY: Ribbon Turkey Shirt

Want a happy 2 year old daughter?  Then make her a ribbon turkey shirt.  Lil E made me feel like Mom Of The Year when I popped this on her this morning.  She kept running around saying "I gotta turkey! Gobble Gobble!"  She how happy she is? Did I mention she's 2?  She is.  Turned 2 today!  I can't believe how my little girl has grown!!

Once I bought all the stuff, the execution only took me about an hour to complete and that was with E interrupting me because she wanted to watch Bubble Guppies instead of Dora and needed ice in her juice 5 times.  It really was pretty easy, if you need help - I charged minimum wage and mileage :). 

Ingredients - Err, stuff you need to do this craft
  • 1 T-shirt (color of your choice)
  • 2 Googly eyes (sew on or glue on is acceptable)
  • Assortment of ribbons (It will depend on the size of the turkey how many ribbons you need~I used 7 which was a mix of ones I had and some I bought by the yard at Joann Fabrics)
  • Iron-On Fusible Web (this is like a fabric version of Stitch Witchery discussed here)
  • Brown and Orange Double Knit fabric
First things first, go to Wal-mart and get a T-shirt.  I went with a long sleeved black one for $2.99.  It was such a deal because the sleeves are rusched and girly and the edges of the sleeves and bottom are ruffly.  I picked black to make the brown of the turkey body pop a little more. 

I then made a paper pattern for the body of the turkey and stapled it onto the shirt to help me with the placement of the ribbons.

After that I just started cutting the ribbons and pinning them in place with straight pins.  This is what it looked like when I was done.

I then trimmed the ribbons so it wouldn't be so bulky under the turkey's body and used my sewing machine to baste the ribbons to the shirt. 

Now on to the turkey.  I took my square of fabric and ironed on the fusible web to it.  Then I took the body pattern we made of paper and then just traced it onto the brown double knit fabric. 

Then I cut it out and ironed it onto the T-shirt on top of the ribbons. I also backed the orange double knit with iron on fusible web and cut out a little triangle and ironed it to the turkey head.  It didn't take long at all for it to bond with the iron.

So then we end up with something like this:

I ran back upstairs and did a zig zag stitch around the entire turkey body which sews not only the turkey down, but the ribbons too.  I finished it off with hot gluing on the googly eyes (I couldn't find sew-on ones that were the right size). And here is the finished product!

Very festive! E's gonna get a lot of wear out of this in the next week!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mercury by Collier Campbell Fabric

Found a new fabric I had to have for throw pillows for the bedroom.........

Isn't it fun?  I grabbed 3 yards at Sew Chic before it closed.  It's called Mercury and part of Collier Campbell's Exotic Inspiration collection for Fabricut.  I needed something that was fun and a punch of color to go in my semi-bland room.  Here is a pic from the old house in Dallas of what the room looks like:

All the same stuff in a different bedroom essentially.  Same bedding, same furniture, same curtains.  We even have the same paint color at the new house (Lenox Tan by Benjamin Moore).  It was staged without our bench we have at the foot of the bed which is red also.  That is where one of the pillows will be located. 

So back to the truly understand what a fabric (for lack of a better word) "whore" I am, I liked the fabric so much............I bought it twice!

I know, I'm a crazy person, but it was 75% off!!!! I figure it I don't use all of it, surely someone else will want it.  The purple is called the Peacock color scheme. See the link for fabric details. I found it on good ole too for purchase if you are interested.  I've been searching the internet for awhile and I cannot find the orange color scheme for purchase anywhere. Nor is it on the Fabricut website so maybe it's been discontinued.

Update (7/19/2012):  I'm selling my yardage of the peacock color scheme.  We decided to do raspberry instead of purple in the den/hearthroom as an accent color.  You can purchase all of my 4.5 yards here for $7.99 per half yard.    

I got curious and found that Collier Campbell created another color of the Mercury pattern too. Here it is in Black and Bright.

I plan on knocking out a pillow tonight so I'll upload a pic tomorrow.  I'm also finishing up another Razorback pumpkin so I'll post that too.  I've got tons of little stuff to get done before Evelyn's birthday party next week.  I cannot believe she's going to be 2!  I wish I could just freeze her growth and keep her this size forever....except potty trained.  Here's a little E to look at and make your evening complete. We were wedding dress shopping for my friend we call "Sis" and to keep E busy we found some things to dress her up!  Come back tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DIY: No Sew Curtains!

So, another earthquake last night.  Between the tremors and the tornados, hail and rain that won't let up this move to Arkansas might not have been the best idea. On top of that, apparently all these conspiracy theorists are saying that tomorrow is the end of the world (11/9/11) or some catastrophic event the gov't knows about is apparently happening tomorrow.  But you know what?  I'm still planning on taping off my walls in the entryway this afternoon to paint horizontal stripes, and I'm currently making a lunch date for Thursday because this house ain't going down without a fight.  Not when I'm in the middle of redecorating it!

So, I made a no sew valance for the window over my front door.  Wanna see?

There she blows.  I got the silk I used for a steal at Sew Chic in Rogers it's last day of business.  I think my total was $8 for 2 yards of the silk.  I'm using the rest to do a pillow for the bench I blogged about here.

So I went to Wal-Mart and got a spring loaded tension rod, as seen below:

I then measured the length and width of the window.  In this instance I wanted the valence to perfectly fit the width of the space so on the width of the fabric I overcut by 2 inches to allow for the hem.  The length of silk I cut was about 2.5 times the size of the window so that it would gather prettily. 

Then I got your new best friend.  Everyone, if you haven't had the honor, meet Stitch Witchery............

All you do is place this between 2 pieces of fabric, place a hot iron on it, and then Boom!  They are fused together. 

Make sure your iron is on the setting that corresponds to the fabric you are bonding.  My setting was for silk (a rather low temperature), so I flipped the fabric and held the iron to both sides to make sure it bonded completely.  Make sure you check the fabric every 20 seconds or so to make sure the fabric isn't burning. 

Just roll out the amount of stitch witchery you need, tear it, fold the fabric over it, and then iron.

After ironing, it should be fused together like this.  Very hard to pull apart.  If its not, just iron it a little bit longer. 

The great thing about using Stitch Witchery on silks is that the needle marks and thread won't show.  Silks are so delicate that the force of the needle often discolors that area.  "Stitch Witch" allows it to have a smooth finish. 

No stitch holes.  Beautiful!

I used the Stitch Witch on all sides of the fabric I cut.  Because a lot of sunlight will filter in through this window I also fused some cheap curtain backing to the piece as well.

I finished it up with taking 2 3 inch pieces of fabric and folding and fusing them as well, fused the ends together to make rings, and just slipped them over the rest of the material.  To get the fabric to gather, I folded the fabric like a fan from the bottom 1 inch at a time until about 2 inches from the top, then slipped the rings over it.   

Finished Product.  Just perfect for that space.   

Silks are such a great fabric for curtains because they are lightweight and hang so beautifully. But if silks aren't your cup of tea, you can use Stitch Witch with any fabrics - this is such a great solution if you don't have a sewing machine and don't want to spend the money on having your window treatments made. 

I'm working on some roman shades for the master bedroom with another silk I have - probably gonna go the stitch witch route with it too.  I'll keep you updated!


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