Monday, June 30, 2014

Strawberry Fruit Dip

I needed a dip for a party a few months back and came across this recipe at cookingclassy.  It doesn't get a lot easier than 2 ingredients you throw together and it makes a fun side dish (or main dish) to a fruit tray.
Strawberry Fruit Dip
Mix together 8 oz strawberry cream cheese (at room temp),  and 7 oz marshmallow fluff.  
Serve with strawberries, pretzels, apple slices, blueberries, or squared pineapples.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Introducing: June

My chapter with my dogs Lilly and Max ended in May, and I opened a new one May 31st.  I was planning on waiting until June....thus her name-June, but my chihuahua (Peanut) was in serious mourning, and the vet suggested going ahead with another dog b/c he's clearly a social guy.  Granted, he has been distracted from his mourning, mostly out of utter terror, but he does spend hours out from under the bed he sat under for 3 weeks to watch this little girl's antics.  I hope to get another rescue once this little dog settles down...which should be within the next 12 or 13 years, if I know labs.  I remember when I got Max as a puppy, I said my puppy days were over....I kind of remember why now.  Especially when you are talking about labs they are all mouth.  But when she's not learning what the world has to offer by sticking it in her mouth, she's taking puppy naps, exploring the 3,245 toys I've thrown around the house, following Peanut, carrying sticks....the bigger the better...though she hasn't managed to pick up the sticks (roots) out back she has her eye on since day one.  She's a pretty vocal girl (lots of whining), but she sure has brought a lot of happiness and joy into this world.  She's currently napping with her head on my foot...which means I'm sitting very still b/c nap time is kind of my favorite and...I don't want to wake her up b/c it means constant supervision or I'll be replacing my furniture a lot sooner than I thought.  Earlier she was following me around and I was pulling out some spray paint (ironic) and she ran off with one can fascinated by the shake.  And thus begins another era of puppy love and company while I craft...assuming she doesn't steal or eat all the supplies.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rescued

Photo: February 2, 2014:  FavoriteI don't post too many personal stories, but this story ends a chapter of who I am.  Whose dog knew to run to the backdoor anytime she heard a spray paint can being shaken?  This one.  Lilly knew that sound meant we were going outside.  It's not that she loved the outside, she had a cushioned bed in every room, fans, and central heating and air, but she DID love me, and where I went, she went.  My house has handles that are curved and years ago I stopped shutting doors b/c if you closed one with her on the other side, she'd open it.  Which is cute...until you have company over that want to use your restroom...and you have to explain your dog has an open door policy, so....either take her with you, or make sure that lock is secure.  I've had a lot of dogs in my years-Lilly and Max where the first two that I got as an adult.  I got Lilly from the SPCA a year after I got Max.  He needed a friend, but I didn't realize how much I needed one too.  On this side of heaven, our friendships with others are going to have times of difficulties, it's part of humanity, and also...how we grow.  But friendship with a dog, in particular, this friend?  It was perfect.  She never held a grudge, was never burdened to see me, and was interested in everything I said and did. I never doubted she was a little blessing God granted me to remember what it felt like to feel perfect love for no other reason than I chose her.    I lost her in May.  She had 13 years, 12 of those wonderful years with me.  She is without a doubt the smartest dog I've ever owned, and the most loving.  I miss her.  Every.  Day.  She starred in most of my blog post, even if she didn't make the photo cut, no doubt she was close by when the photo was being taken, and often retaken b/c she stuck her nose in the shot.  I know there are other dogs waiting to be rescued, indeed, I've started a new chapter in my own life, but this girl....what a gift.  I sure hope there are pets in heaven b/c 12 years wasn't nearly enough time with this sweet girl.  When I grow up, I hope I love half as well as she did.

Friday, June 27, 2014

July 4th Hostess Gift

 I made this BBQ basket for my secret sister at work.  She spoiled me this year and I wanted to say thank you.  I know she loves July 4th, so I pulled together some fixings for a BBQ.
My favorite sauce/salsa/the makings of smores, a fire cracker metal sign, napkins, paper straw and a glow star stick for her little boy.
 I added some vinyl stars to the bucket it was all in, and attached some tags.
 I saw the patriotic tag above online.  I can't find the original, but made one here you can print.  I'll link back to my inspiration as soon as I find it!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Asparagus

I spent the first 30 years of my life avoiding vegetables.  I'm fine with a few mixed in with a casserole.  I've always been a fan of lettuce....with dressing, but a veggie by itself without a truckload of carbs.  No thanks.  And then....I went to Europe and I wanted to experience every piece of the culture, including the food-which included fresh vegetables cooked right....and I loved them.  All these years-who knew that if you skip the can and catch them fresh-they are good?!?!  I've been trying out all sorts of recipes from that point on....I've got a lot of years and vitamins to make up for!  Here's a recipe I found and liked from a friend of a friend.  Sure, it has butter, but a vitamin is still a vitamin even covered with butter.
Asparagus
Ingredients:  1 lb (washed) asparagus, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 teas garlic salt, 1/4 teas. pepper, 2 Table grated Parmesan
Instructions:  Cut off bottom of the asparagus.  Place 1 cup of water and asparagus into a skilled.  Cover and cook on high for 6 minutes.  Move back and forth at 3 minutes to prevent asparagus from cooking unevenly.  Drain the water and add everything but the Parmesan.  Cook until the butter is melted.  Remover and sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Redoing a Bathroom-Dollar Style

So....the challenge given to me this time at Good Morning, Texas was to revamp a bathroom using stuff almost exclusively from the Dollar General.  I was sent these picture from one of the producers and ownder of the current bathroom.  It's a really small guest bathroom.  I'd never been to the house before and didn't get a chance to see it until after I went shopping and came over with my stuff.  The one thing I could tell was that she likes earth tones in greens and browns.  I decided I'd focus on those colors.

 I also noticed there was zero counter space.
 With nothing on the walls.
 She told me this was a wedding gift, so I went with that as my theme colors.
I had about 10 minutes to walk around and shop after getting these photos before the camera came to film the shopping trip, so I made some quick decisions.  I'll be doing some crafts on the show today with what I found, and they will get an after shot, but here's a sneak peak.  My goal was to use her colors b/c I know she liked them.  I also wanted to repurpose what she had to keep cost down, but add some decorations.
I got some frames-I went with some different browns/golds/bronzes.  I liked the molding on the purple frame, but not the color, so...I sprayed it.
 I keep scrapbook paper/fabric scraps for projects like this....she can eventually replace them with prints she finds, or....just keep the framed green patterned papers.  I did get the P for half off at Hobby Lobby.  I'm all about the initial these days.  I hung it from the middle of the frame with a ribbon scrap.
I got a little lamp-since it's a guest bath-why stumble for the light....and these are so much more inviting than the typical bathroom light.  I added a little flower to the corner to go with the theme, and then I added this shelf.  In my own bathroom I have baskets holding towels and fun doodads, but since I was adding the lamp with no counter space, I found this shelf at Hobby Lobby.  I used a coupon-so...my two 'non dollar general' store purchases were just to make the rest work in the space.
The flower is ridiculously easy.  That tutorial is here.
I have a really small bathroom in my house too, and I use the back of the toilet as 'counter space.'  The worst thing (OK...a little drama in that statement) is when you go to the restroom and it's out of toilet paper or soap.  I decided to utilize the back this space to store some of those items.  I also added a candle...I won't elaborate on that, but....it's always a good idea.  I pulled the old ivy out of the basket she currently had on the toilet to place these items inside.
I actually used an old pickle jar to hold the candle and split peas to fill it with.  I wanted the color.  I've done this before at weddings with this color theme (bride's idea-I just kept it in the back of my mind file for an occasion like this...)
I also found a soap dispenser in the clearance.
She currently had the disposable soap.  To make this more decorative-I found these 'jewels' on clearance b/c one stone was missing the center.  I pulled off the green one and hot glued it to the container with some burlap.  The rest of those stones will find a home some other place in my craft world.
But...again...if you run out of soap-I wrapped up some soaps to throw in that basket 'o guest stuff.  Incidentally, I've done this before with those free hotel soaps-it's kind of fun to have a bunch of different shapes and sizes.  The last thing I want to do at someone's house is ask them where more soap is....so...here it is...
I'll post the video to facebook later, but...now I've revealed my secrets a few hours early.  :O)  Here are a few shots from my cell phone....it'll be interesting to see how the guys were able to film in that small space with a mirror.
 We found this picture in another part of her house.
 The plan is to get a side plug so the plug isn't sticking out of the wall.  The cord was pretty obvious, so I hot glued a cover-there wasn't any time to revamp that anymore, but putting the plug on the side will help.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Strawberry Pretzel Parfait

My favorite part of this dessert-second to the salty/sweet ration is the fact that you can make individual size portions.  I love dessert, but I hate that making it usually involves needed 7 other friends to come help you enjoy it....or 73 extra miles on the treadmill to burn it off.  Not in this case-some simple ingredients and....yu-um.  I originally saw this idea at dessertfortwo.
Strawberry Pretzel Parfait
Ingredients:  12 strawberries (diced), 2 teas. sugar, 1 cup pretzels (crushed), 2 T.  butter (melted), pinch of cinnamon, 3/4 cup yogurt or sour cream, 2 T. brown sugar, whipped cream.
Instructions:  
1.  In bowl sprinkled sugar over your strawberries
2.  In bowl two mix melted butter, cinnamon, and pretzels
3.  In bowl three mix yogurt and brown sugar.
4.  Layer:  1/2 yogurt mix, 1/2 strawberries, 1/2 pretzels.  Repeat.  Top with whipped cream.
Serves 2

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ruffled Streamer

 I've been in love with ruffled streamers for awhile now.  I've done this in the past, but I used the same color, just ruffled it to make it fun...but this time...I walked on the wild side and made this two toned streamer.  This is so simple to do.....
Stack two pieces of crepe, and start pushing it through a sewing machine.  Right before it goes under the needle I bunch it up so it's sewing the crepe together in what turns out to be a ruffled look.  Stay tuned for how this little gal gets displayed....

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bird House

 Here's a quick little craft my niece Blythe did for me.  Her Nana has a bunch of bird feeders in her tree, and I thought she might like one her granddaughter decorated.  Unfortunately, Blythe had a full schedule when she was last visiting, so instead of painting up this little wooden feeder I bought at Michael's, I gave her some permanent markers instead and let her go to work.  She created a 'pattern' on the roof.  I'm sure she would have colored even more, but I finally had to stop her just because we lacked time, but I'm putting this with a whole little collection of bird themed gifts, but I think this is my favorite part just because it has Blythe's 'pattern' and little hearts around the perch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who Loves Carter? Baby Board Book

 I made a little board book 'o love for my godson, Carter's Valentine's gift.  I know you can buy scrapbooks via many websites, but I wanted something durable.  I've seen a few versions of books like this over the years, so it was time to create my own.  I started with a board book-originally a dollar-but I got it at a used book store, so...it was even cheaper.
I went back and forth with what to print my pictures on, but I finally just went with just printed it on regular computer paper.  I organized my photos, giving each family member a page-holding Carter.  I added some text to each photo in photoshop.  I figured the repeated pattern would make it easy for his older brother, Donovan, to 'read' it to him.  
I used some sticky vinyl for the spin (thought some fun duct tape would have worked too).  I then covered each page with a little sheet of clear contact paper-it worked even better than I thought, and makes it really durable.  
 ...and it's about time for me to ship this out to my little Valentine...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fiesta Ranch Pasta

I'm always looking for a new twist on Pasta salad for BBQs and misc.lucks.  I stumbled across this recipe, and it sounded like it was right up my alley.  It's a tasty treat, fun for a picnic on the 4th, and it feeds a crowd, as in, perhaps most of the armed forces.  Win!  Win!
The original recipe comes from butterwithaside.
Fiesta Ranch Chicken Pasta
Pasta:  package of spiral pasta, 3 boneless chicken breast (seasoned and diced or 1 rotisserie chicken), 1 packages of taco season mix, 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed), 1 pkg frozen corn, 1 onion (chopped), 1 can of sliced black olives (drained), 2 cups of cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, 2 tomatoes (chopped)
Dressing:  2 cups of mayo, 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 pkg of fiesta ranch dip (they sell this by the dry salad dressings)
Fritoes for serving.
Instructions:  Cook and drain pasta according to pkg instructions.  Add all the salad ingredients.  Mix the dressing ingredients and toss with the pasta.  Right before serving, toss with Fritoes (corn chips).