Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Coffee Filter Wreath

fall coffee filter wreath
 
Like life, it is important for me not to TRY to take my craft projects too seriously. I always have an idea in my head what my future projects will look like, and most of the time the idea doesn't come to fruition. And, I am trying to be okay with that :). The process of creating something is almost as important to me as the finished product, and if I am not having a good time with it, than I feel I am wasting my time. That is why when I get discouraged with a project I am working on, I walk away from it. After a few hours, days, or weeks I re-visit it with a different approach. So if you tend to be a perfectionist, than this approach may help you.
 
I felt the above paragraph was a good introduction to this blog post, because that is exactly how this project started for me. Martha Stewart featured this beautiful coffee filter wreath as one of her holiday projects last year. I watched the video, and thought it was pure genius, and that it would be so easy to make. Well my intentions were good, but my abilities weren't. It was not turning out the way that I wanted it to (as you can see in the picture below). So, I became discouraged, and it sat on my craft table for over a week. I continued with other projects, and kept it in the back of my mind and peripheral view. 
 
Martha Stewart cofee filter wreath
 
I was recently doing some research on wreaths, when I spotted this beauty by Design, Dining, and Diapers. Not only was her final product beautiful, but her approach sounded like fun.
 
So I used Taryn's wreath as an inspiration. Instead of staining the coffee filters with tea (which is a brilliant idea by the way), I used unbleached coffee filters. I knew they would add the fullness I wanted, and the color was there without the extra prep work. 
 
I tore off the coffee filters I had previously adhered to the Martha Stewart wreath, and got to work. Taryn's screwdriver method worked very well, and it was a great arm workout. I also wanted my wreath to be very full, so I placed my coffee filters about an inch from each other. As Taryn recommended I added extra jabs to each filter, which gave my wreath varying layers and heights. The extra jabs also better secured the coffee filters into place. I continued the method around the entire wreath until it was completely covered.
 
In its entirety, this project took me about two hours, and I used one bag of 200 coffee filters. One thing I will mention ahead of time is that the hay from the wreath is very messy, so be prepared to clean up afterward.
 
coffee filter wreath
 
coffee filter wreath
 
coffee filter wreath
 
After I added the coffee filters to the base, I wanted to add some fall inspiration. So I picked up some cute knick-knacks from Hobby Lobby and adhered them to the wreath with wire and hot glue. I then added a ribbon to the top and placed it above one of our great room windows (the first window you see when you enter the house).

fall coffee filter wreath
 
fall coffee filter wreath
 
I am very happy with how the wreath turned out. It is not only a wonderful indicator of fall, but it also reminds me of how to not take life or crafting too seriously. Yes, it isn't perfect, but it works very well for me and I am happy I didn't give up on this project. Because, it was a very fun one. Hope you enjoy!
 
Fall Coffee Filter Wreath
 
Today I am linking up for Show & Tell on SNAP! with this fall wreath. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Strawberry Scones

strawberry buttermilk scone
 
As a nod to the start of fall and colder weather, I made scones this weekend. I recently enjoyed scones on a summer trip to Colorado, and first encountered fresh English scones when I visited the UK a couple of years ago. Even though, our part of the country is still experiencing warm weather, this recipe lovingly reminded me of colder climates in hopes that fall's cold weather will visit us soon.
 
One of my favorite bloggers, Cupcakes and Cashmere, inspired me to follow this recipe from Tartine via Breadtastic. You won't be disappointed as the smells of strawberries and butter indulge your senses while you wait for these goodies to bake. The final product is a sweet yet tart, substantial breakfast/brunch option perfect for your China and fancy napkins. Hope you enjoy!
 
Fresh Strawberries
 
cut strawberries
 
Butter
 
strawberry scone
 
strawberry buttermilk scone

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

“A Grand Adventure is About to Begin”-Winnie the Pooh

It is with wonderful excitement that I write this post. I have a secret, and it explains why I have been MIA for the past few months (sorry for that).
Ready for it? My husband and I are expecting our first child - a son. Our lil' man will make his appearance in February. The best Valentine present I will ever receive.

Now that you know my secret, and I am getting my energy back, I will try to post on a more regular basis. My blog will still consist of my favorite things, so I will throw some baby-ness into the mix once in a while

We can't wait to start this grand adventure!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ramen Broccoli Coleslaw

Ramen Broccoli Coleslaw
 
Summer is the time for outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Today I have a very easy side item that is sure to please the entire crowd (yes, even the non-salad/coleslaw lovers) at your next soiree. Food.com has all of the wonderful, quick steps to this delicious ramen broccoli coleslaw.
 
*If you can't find broccoli slaw at your grocery store, I would suggest julienning broccoli, carrots, and cabbage to create your own broccoli slaw.
 
I did make two revisions to the above linked recipe. First, I would recommend roasting the ramen noodles and nuts before you place them in the salad for an added crunch. Second, I decreased the sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup to help ease the calorie count, and it was still just as wonderful as ever!
 
Ramen Broccoli Coleslaw
  
Ramen Broccoli Coleslaw
 
This recipe does make a large quantity, ideal for a group gathering. It also stores very well in the refrigerator if you should have any leftover. 
 
Ramen Broccoli Coleslaw
 
I hope you enjoy this recipe along with your next summer get-together.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

I would like to wish a very happy father's day to all of the fathers, soon-to-be-fathers, and fatherly figures everywhere. I hope you know how important you are to the ones you take care of, have taken care of.

Happy Father's Day
via

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DIY Summer Tote

DIY Summer Tote

Lilly Pulitzer is all about beautiful florals and vibrant colors. My kind of designer! So I was very excited to jump into the next edition of the Style Soiree! - Link Party Summer Series, featuring Lilly Pulitzer. Last month, when Kate Spade was showcased I featured my DIY gold polka dot shirt.

I still don't have the perfect summer tote, so I was inspired by Lilly Pulitzer to create one. I was drawn to Lilly's First Impression print for my tote.

Lilly Pulitzer's First Impression
via
Today I am linking up at Our Fifth House, Pinterest Told Me To, Rain on a Tin Roof, Southern State of Mind, and Effortless Style to showcase my very simple DIY Lilly Pulitzer inspired summer tote.

This project is what I feel every project should be. It was very much like summer, because it was fun, easy, and allowed me to be free with my approach. I didn't want the lines and colors to be perfect. I wanted to create a free-flowing, watercolor-look like much of Lilly's prints.

For this project, you will need: a canvas tote (I purchased mine at Michaels for $3.99), stencil, stencil brushes, paintbrush, acrylic craft paint, and cardboard to place inside the tote to prevent paint from seeping through (I used leftover packing foam).  


Tools for DIY Summer Tote

After you iron the canvas and free it of any wrinkles, place your cardboard or any flat surface inside the canvas so that paint doesn't seep through.

You can choose to have a design or you can roll with it. As I mentioned above, I was very free with my process. So I placed my first stencil down, and applied the paint with a flat stencil paintbrush. 

Flower Stencil forTote

DIY summer tote

Flower Stencil

I continued to apply stenciled flowers in open spaces on my bag. Once I was happy with the look and amount of flowers, I started to paint color in between the flowers. I wanted to leave some white in areas, so I wasn't very heavy with my paint approach.

DIY decorated tote

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Tote

You can decide to stop here. However, I added some light pink inside the flowers to give them more texture. I also added leaves by using two shades of green and white paint. Once one side was complete and fully dry, I turned the bag over and repeated the process on the opposite side. 

DIY Summer Tote

DIY summer tote

Hope you enjoy creating your own bag, and I hope you are enjoying the summer months.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Homemade Crock Pickles

I would like to apologize for my absence. I was very busy with work last week. I hope your week has started off on the right note.

The smells and tastes of today's homemade recipe remind me of sweet summertime, just as much as squash does. I recently showed you how to make homemade dill pickles. Today, I will show you a much simpler and faster process that will  lead to homemade crock pickles. They are the perfect addition to any summer soiree, and they make wonderful gifts.  

Homemade Crock Pickles

For this recipe, you will need: water (I used 6 cups of water), pickling/canning salt (I used 1/4 cup of salt), white distilled vinegar (I used 1/2 cup of vinegar), recycled mason jars (I used 2 mason jar quarts), dill (I used 2 sprigs), onions, garlic clove (I used 1 garlic clove), cucumbers, and grape leaves (this ingredient is optional).  

Like many hand-me-down recipes, the measurements are not exact. So please feel free to experiment with your ingredients to get the desired taste that you want. 

Crock Pickles

After you sterilize your jars and clean your vegetables thoroughly, you will need to prepare your cucumbers. Start by cutting the ends off of each cucumber so that your mixture can disperse evenly into the cucumber. Since I used larger cucumbers, I cut mine into spears. 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Next, you will peel the skin off of garlic, and cut the onions up.

Ingredients for Pickles

From here, you will place the jar on its side, so that you can stack the cucumbers into the jar tightly. Then you will top your jar off with garlic, onions, and dill. 

From Cucumbers to Pickles

How to make pickles


DIY Pickles


DIY Pickles

In a separate bowl you will add your water, salt, and vinegar together. For two quarts of pickles, I used 6 cups of water, 1/4 cup of pickling/canning salt, and 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. I had plenty of mixture left over.  

Once all ingredients are added to a large bowl, you can start to stir the mixture with a fork. Continue to stir until the salt has dissolved.

White Distilled Vinegar


White Distilled Vinegar

Now you will pour the water, salt, and white distilled vinegar mixture into the quarts and over the cucumbers. 

Pickles

Then cover your filled jars with cotton towels, and set aside at room temperature for about 3 days. 

Homemade Pickles

After the third day, you can test your pickles. If they are the desired texture and taste, then label them and place them in the refrigerator. These pickles can last for several months in the refrigerator, but I guarantee you that they won't last that long. :)

Homemade Crock Pickles

I hope you have enjoyed this simple, yet very delicious pickle recipe. Have you ever made crock pickles? If yes, was your process the same or different from mine?

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Clean a Coffee Maker

This will probably be the most unglamorous, yet very necessary, post you will see. I love my morning and (sometimes afternoon) coffee, and I always prefer to enjoy a fresh (and clean) cup. Today I have a very simple way to keep your coffee maker clean, and rid of bacteria.

clean coffee maker
White distilled vinegar comes to the rescue again. I showed you how I use it to clean my yoga mat. And today I will use it to clean my coffee maker. Aside from being a fantastic acidic cleaner for mold and  bacteria; vinegar is also a very cost effective and environmentally friendly cleaner. For those reasons I prefer to clean with vinegar in the kitchen.

How to clean a coffee maker
 
Place a clean filter into the filter basket in your coffee maker. Then add half cold water, and half white distilled vinegar mixture to your coffee pot. (You can add more vinegar to the mixture if your coffee maker is in dire need of a good cleaning). Place the mixture into the coffee maker. 


 Cleaning Coffee Maker
 
Place the coffee pot onto the hot pad in the coffee maker. Let the water and vinegar mixture brew through the coffee maker and into the coffee pot. Then let the maker and coffee pot sit for 15 minutes.
 
Next, clean out the coffee pot and throw the used filter away. Add cold water to the coffee pot (no vinegar), and add the cold water to the coffee maker. Once the water brews through, let the maker sit for another 15 minutes. Then repeat the entire process with cold water one more time.
 

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker
 
Below is a before and after shot. Please don't judge my before picture. I wanted to be honest with the before picture to show you how well this process works. :)
 
How to Clean your Coffee Maker

How to Clean your Cofee Maker

You can also use the water/vinegar mixture and a cotton rag to clean water stains around the maker, and other places showing wear from the coffee grounds. 

I would also recommend using a pitcher or cup that is designated for the water when you brew your coffee on a daily basis. No matter how well you clean your coffee pot, it can still hold coffee ground residue that can get into the coffee maker if you use it to fill the maker with water.

I try to clean my coffee maker once a month. The amount you should clean your coffee maker should be dependent on how often you use your maker.

I hope you have a fantastic start to your day and week with a fresh (and clean) cup of coffee.
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