Fall blog

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quilt Giveaway

Cecily is having an awesome giveaway over at her blog Craftopotamus!   Go visit her blog, look around, and leave her a comment! 

Monday, August 23, 2010100 Follower Giveaway - or Should I Say QUILTAWAY!

I've been looking forward to this post for a little while now. A couple months ago, I realized that within my stash I had a group of fabrics that accidentally went together beautifully for a quilt and decided that I would use them to make one for one of you. With time running out before school starts for me, I knew it had to be on the simpler side and this is what I came up with...

I named it Over the Garden Gate. The white bars remind me of a fence and the color combinations remind me of a flower garden. I also was trying to capture the feeling of how, as we click our way through blogs and link parties, it can feel like we are peeking into someone else's craft room or living room or kitchen - just stopping by for a minute to chat before heading out to the next link down the street. There is a sense of community out there that I just wasn't expecting to find at the outset.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sushi Fun!

I am a secret foodie and love to watch shows about food, see pictures of food, hear about food, read about food, and most of all try new foods from around the world.
Makino Chaya located in Aloha Tower Marketplace

Being married to a military man has its perks! We were stationed in Hawaii for 4 years and I quickly became acustomed to the local cuisine that had a big influence from Asian cultures. There were as many sushi restaurants in Hawaii as we have McD's and BK here on the mainland. I refused to eat anything "fishy" at first, but then after trying sushi for the first time decided that I loved it. Not being a fish lover, I have yet to venture into raw sushi and stick to more americanized sushi.   I heart California Rolls!

I now try to search out the best California Roll I can find. I had a craving for sushi one night and decided to try to make my own! My husband called from work with his usual..."Do you need me to pick anything up from the store?" to which I replied "Can you go to the Asian market and pick up some sushi supplies for me, pleeeaaase!" He laughed and proceeded to write down directions, a list of items needed, and off he went. Yeah..I have a great husband that is willing to do anything for me!! :)

I searched online to find a recipe and/or video. This is what I came up with. Okay..onto the pictures.
1.  Rice cooker is something we cannot live without since living in Hawaii.   If you don't have one, a pot will work.    Cook according to rice directions.
2.  Rice wine vinegar (found at your local supermarket).  It helps keep a shine and stickiness to your rice.  Sugar and salt for rice. 
3.  Sushi rice.  This is the brand I use and can be found at Walmart or Kroger in the Asian food section.  You can find out how to make sushi rice here. or cook it in rice cooker and then add the other ingredients in video.
4.  Toasted sesame seeds.  Found at Walmart or Kroger or any supermarket.
5.  Bamboo sushi mat.  This was found at the Asian market, but I think you can find them at Walmart.
6.  Nori (seaweed) wrap paper.  This is found at the Asian market, but I have seen it at Kroger.
7.  Cucumbers-sliced small or julienned. 
8.  Immitation crab.  I use the smaller pieces because they are easier to take apart.
9.  Avacado-ripe and sliced into thin slices.


First you lay down your bamboo mat and place a sheet of plastic wrap on top (oops...forgot that on the ingredients list).   Cut the Nori in half (did not do this the first time...too much nori!).  Add a few spoonfuls of rice and spread it out, careful not to smush it too much!  Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.   Carefully FLIP the nori over onto the rice side.

Add your crab, cucumber, and avacado that you sliced. 

I forgot to take pictures of this next step..oops.
Next, you roll one side of your bamboo mat over the top of the sushi roll and keep rolling like this.  
*Note:  This link shows the sushi with the nori on the outside of the roll, we flipped ours so the rice is on the outside. 

You can see that I squished mine a little too much.  LOL I was happy with the steps so far!  This step was kind of fun!!

Slice up your sushi (make sure to cut off the ugly ends) and serve!   Pretty good for my first attempt!   It was delicious!  Make sure you have some chopsticks and know how to use them!!

Leave me some comments and let me know what you think!

I love linking up with all you creative gals, so that is why I am linking up this week with:






Thursday, August 12, 2010

These are the days of our knives....

This is my attempt at trying to make our knife block look nice.  This was painted by me a few years ago.  It was supposed to look like an apple..LOL!  :)  Bleh
Enter....Spray Paint.  I think I have spray painted everything lately.  I actually took this picture before I decided to go with matte paint instead of satin. 
I had to cover up the Henckel brand logo to make it smooth.  My husband wasn't so happy about this though.  He is proud of his Henckel knives.  I just used some wood filler and smoothed it on with a great tool..my finger! lol  I did not have a putty knife handy.

I used another great tool that I had available...a piece of cardboard from a 12 pack of soda...to scrape off the excess.  That is just how I roll!   Let it dry for about 15 minutes.

After it was dry, I sanded it smooth with my sanding block (I think 220 sand paper block).  I also used my palm sander to sand the entire block.  Make sure to wipe away any dust with a cloth after sanding.

Spray LIGHT COATS of spray paint over the entire thing.  This is what happens when you get in a hurry and try to paint it on too much..YIKES!  So..after that dried, I had to re-sand and then spray it again.  I sprayed about 2 coats.  Let it dry for 20 minutes.

While it was drying, I went outside to water my flowers and saw the most amazing sunset and HAD to get a picture!  Beautiful!!

After it was all dry, I got my sanding block and went to work distressing the edges.  I heart the distressed look!    

I thought about how I was going to add some flair.  I got out my paint and brush and tried to paint on a monogram...WRONG.  I can now see why everyone is soooo fond of vinyl lettering.  I could not paint a W for the life of me.  It looked terrible, so I wiped it all off.  I do not have a Cricut (I know, I know...maybe Santa will bring me one!), so I did the next best thing.  I went to my computer, grabbed some scrapbook paper, and printed off an outline of a W and cut it out.  

TIP:  These little nail scissors work great to cut out small letters.

Next, enter my two best friends....Mod and Podge


I put down a little matte mod podge and placed my letter.  I let it dry for a few minutes and then went over the whole area with mod podge. 


The letter looks white in this photo, but it is the green/tan color of the scrapbook paper in the above picture.

AFTER!!!  I really think this is one of my favorite projects.  It was so easy and made a HUGE difference in my kitchen.  I smile every time I walk past it.  The granite tile...not so much.  That is another subject all together.  Those grout lines irritate me.

Here it is with some of the knives back in the block (the rest were in the dishwasher)!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please leave me a comment, I read them all! :)


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Craft Desk Makeover

I needed a desk for my new office for crafts, sewing, scrapbooking, and such.  I found this unique desk at GW for $14.99 and new it was what I was looking for.  It was a little wobbly and was some sort of laminated wood...weird.  I could picture some cute little baskets sitting in the little cubby spaces.  I also found a chair that I could refinish *forgot to take before picture* that had U.G.L.Y fabric on the seat.  It was not even cushioned...just fabric stapled to the seat board.  BLEH!

A little black spray paint, a cute new knob, some fabric and foam and it was perfect!  It is not as organized as I would like it to be, as I am adding shelving above the desk soon!  Updated pictures to come soon!
I was going to replace the legs because the desk was not tall enough to fit a chair and myself under, but I decided that I liked the legs and just got out in my garage, found some scrap wood and made some blocks to glue and screw to the underside of the desk to raise it up.  I also added a piece of wood under the other side.  It helped stabilize the legs also, so no more wobble (which would be really bad for sewing!)
I found these little blue baskets at the Dollar Tree.  I need to go back and get a few more.  Right now I have photo boxes on the other sides.  
Excuse my mess inside the desk, but it has nice storage inside.
As you can see I am not the best photographer, but wanted to show how cute the knob is!  I love it.  I think I got it at Lowes.
I went to JoAnn's to look for fabric and thought this would go great with my green walls!  I couldn't decide which one I wanted for the seat, but went with the paisley.  I plan on making the striped fabric into a pillow for my chair (it is missing a back piece).  

This was so fun to recover.  Got my staple gun out, some foam, batting, and went to work.  The front is not as smooth as I wanted it to be, but oh well.  I think it looks really good!  
I really love the shape and curves of this chair!  

What do you all think? 

I would love to read some comments and any suggestions on shelving above the desk would be great!  My office reveal will be coming soon!




Thursday, August 5, 2010

Going to Paris on a budget..ooh la la

My daughter will soon be 13 and we decided that she needed a room that was a little more grown up.  Over the summer as we were preparing for our move, we were planning what the new room design would be.  She wanted a travel/parisian theme!  Of course I wanted to go pink and black, but she is totally against pink and wanted something red and black.  I was not really into that color scheme, but decided that it would be her choice.  I am so glad I listened to her, because it turned out fabulous!!   I made the curtains (but want to change them up a little--suggestions?) out of fabric that I got at JoAnns for ....6 yards for $11.00!!!  :)  I do know how to sew, but could not find my sewing machine because it had not been unpacked yet.  I ran out and got some iron on hem stuff and went to work.  I am thinking of adding ribbon and making them more of a swoopy kind of valance. 

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It has been sooo much fun going to thrift stores, garage sales, and Goodwill and spotting things that would go perfect in her new room!  

We cannot decide what to do about adding a rug.  We would love to find a rug that does not cost too much and adds some flair to her large space.  I am also on the hunt for a chandelier that I can recycle.  The two throw pillows were on clearance at Hobby Lobby, but forgot how much.  I think maybe $4 each.  The center red pillow was from walmart and I splurged and paid $11 for it.  The red rug was from Big Lots..$6  She wanted a daybed look, but she only has a twin.  We just turned it sideways and added some pillows along the back.  The comforter was $19 at Walmart and the black pillow shams were only  $4 each.
She is learning the piano, so we have a keyboard.  I recently bought a vanity ($25), at a garage sale, with a stool and it is also a jewelry cabinet that will go in this place as soon as I get it painted and fixed up...post about that will be coming soon!  We found these tin plaques at Hobby Lobby for $4 each!
Now...for the Pièce de résistance.... my wonderful Aunt Lela saw the pictures of the room design and I was telling her about a dress picture that I was trying to buy on Ebay and was outbid and could not find another one and she said...."I think I have that same picture in my basement and will send it to you for ....FREEEEE!"  What??  Are you kidding?  I almost peed my pants!  I offered to pay for it, pay shipping, whatever she wanted, but she refused to take my money and sent it anyway.  I was sooooooo excited when it arrived.  It MAKES the room!  Thank you Aunt Lela!
Also while at Hobby Lobby, I found these signs for $4 each on clearance!  I got this shelf at a thrift store for $3....add a little black spray paint (my new best friend) and it is rockin!  So...what to put on the shelf??  I wanted to run with the hat shoppe theme of the pictures and new that I could find something cool at this great antique mall, so off we went to find something fancy!
We found some great hats, but wanted one with a veil.  We found one and paid $5 for it.   The little white stand is actually a doll stand from an old doll that we got at Goodwill and sent back to Goodwill a few years later..but still had the stand...oops!  Glad I kept it.   We also found a pair of gloves for $3 and a beautiful beaded purse for $6.  The little hat picture (which is a 3D wooden hat shadow box) was a Goodwill find for 99 cents!  The stand was from Dollar Tree for ....you guessed it..a dollar!
This is a current eye sore right now... we have to find replacement screws for the dresser hardware...ignore that..lol.  I got some hat boxes for 99 cents each at GW.  The mirror was a Big Lots find for $20.
Got this down-filled pillow at a garage sale for ...$2!  It is an expensive pillow...embossed velvet too!
These were three different GW finds and different stores!!  SCORE!  The candle holders (bought at two different times) were each 99 cents.  The vase was a great find at $2.99.  I love the shape of this and the size of it.  I have not figured out what to put in it yet!  Maybe a candle??
Another garage sale find...$2!!!  Whooo hoo.  I almost bolted out of the car when I saw this.  I almost caved and paid full price for one of these things....glad I had patience!
We wanted to spruce up this lamp shade and saw these cool vintage chandy crystals at an antique store for  50 cents each.  I grabbed them and just poked them through the lamp shade.  They look great with the light shining through.
I repainted the letters that she had in her room before.  I spray painted them black and then added some dots with the end of my paint brush and some acrylic paint from my supply.   The dots on the G are really crooked, but I decided to leave it...oh well.
Again...I almost died when I saw these two plates lying on a shelf at GW.  99 cents each!!  I had the plate hangers.  These are my favorite and one of the first finds for this room!
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I got this at GW and have not figured out what to do with it yet.  It was $1.99.  It is very heavy metal base.  I was thinking of making some kind of canvas sign to hang from it.  Any suggestions would be great?!!
Found these candle holders at Big Lots for $7.00 for two.  Battery operated candles are perfect for the ambiance.  They flicker and are real wax that smells like vanilla.  You can pick them up at Walmart for around $3 each! 
A GW find....this vintage mirror.  I decided to leave it "as is" because I loved the vintage brass feel.  I also picked up this ring holder for 99 cents.


I also wanted to gripe to tell you about the paint and furniture.   My daughter picked out the paint from Lowes.  It is called "Posh Red".  This paint looks great on the walls, but was such a pain to paint with.  It looks like blood and gets everywhere!  We had red paint on us, all over the drop cloth, on lots of damp cloths that we cleaned up our messes with..ugh!   It took about 3 coats and that was WITH primer before.  I will never paint with red again.  We also added a chair rail and was going to put up bead board, but it was not in our budget.  My solution was to just paint it white until we had the funds to add it.  This worked out well.  We still have to paint and fill the chair rail.   

Also, the dressers were a garage sale find from many years ago ($40 for all three pieces) and was painted antique white.  It seriously needs to be repainted, but that is for another day.  

Thanks for stopping by and please leave me comments and suggestions!
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