Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby Shower

Boy oh boy has it been a crazy week. Just busy stuff. A big part of this week was getting ready for a baby shower I hosted today. I did my now standard pom-poms for decorations. Yes, it IS my go-to party decor. And I'm totally good with that. Fun, easy, economical.

I also made the cake for the shower. I decided to try a different cake. It is orange almond with orange buttercream frosting and fondant flavored with orange juice instead of vanilla. The jury is still out on the cake. I thought it was a bit heavy and rich for my liking. Almond extract tends to be that way, in my opinion.

I decorated the cake based on the invitation she chose. I just blatantly copied it. Well, maybe not blatantly. I tried a new border I've never done, with different sized balls. I think it's fun and whimsical, playing off the different sized circles on the rest of the cake.

Here's a tip for bridal or baby showers. I'm sure a lot of you have seen or used the idea of having the guest of honor bring her thank you card envelopes and then the host has everyone write their name and address on an envelope as they arrive. The host can draw one from a basket at the end of the shower and give the individual a door prize, and the guest of honor can leave the party with all her thank you cards already addressed.

I decided to take it one step further. I had the guest of honor bring her thank you cards as well. I bought some sticky notes, and as she opened each gift, I wrote down what she received on a sticky note, then affixed the sticky note inside a card and stuck it in the envelope of the person she received it from. When she is ready to write her notes, she can look at the name on the envelope, pull out the note, see what they gave her, write the note, put it back in the envelope, seal, and done.

I love throwing parties, big and small. The only part I don't like is cleaning my house in preparation. Oh for a maid.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cheese Crackers

Alright folks, here we go.

Cheese Crackers

1/2 lb grated extra sharp cheese
1/4 lb butter, softened
1 1/2 C sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper (or less, for kids)
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tsp hot water

In stand mixer, cream cheese, butter, and water until smooth. Add all dry ingredients.

Refrigerate at least an hour.

Now, here's what I do. I roll the dough out right on my stone. I bought a stone without sides specifically for this purpose. If you don't have a stone or cookie sheet without sides, you can either 1)use a pastry bag and border tip, pipe out mixture to desired length and shape (Cheese straws) or 2) roll dough into a log, wrap in plastic and freezer paper. Freeze. Slice thin before baking. I didn't like either of those methods, but just do what works for you.

Anyway, I roll it out very thin (like 1/8"), on my stone (or ungreased cookie sheet), then I cut it into cheese cracker shapes with a pastry cutter. Bake at 350' for 20 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container. I like them best a little overdone, perhaps. When they are browning a bit and getting crispy they are ready by my standards. Again, just see what you like.

I wouldn't worry much about the red pepper. I don't think it makes it that hot.

Don't worry about the massive quantities in the photos, I quadrupled the batch, using a big ol' 2 lb brick of cheese from Costco.

So there you go. Cheese crackers without any preservatives and additives and fake powder cheese flavored stuff. And you know that where it was made is clean, as far as allergies go.

Be careful. They're addicting!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Walls Are Closing In...

Finally, FINALLY, we found some time to work on the hallway in the basement. Yesterday afternoon we decided it was high time we got to work in there. For the first time in weeks, we didn't have anything else going on to take up our Saturday. The kids classes at Lands' End had finished up for the session and we hadn't signed them up for anything else. We spent the morning cleaning the house, then Lincoln and I got to it. We had been dreading trying to hang the ceiling with just the two of us, but we managed just fine. The first two pieces went up pretty easily, but the last ceiling piece threw us off. We have to remove the hardwired smoke detector in order to hang the drywall, and we can't figure out how to take it down. Anybody know? We couldn't find the breaker switch, and hated to flip the main breaker. It looks like the wires should just unplug from the unit, but the connection seems impossible to pull apart. Any ideas?

Since we were stumped, we stopped with the ceiling and decided to hang walls where we had already installed the ceiling drywall.

We got four pieces up and Wow! what a difference!

It makes the basement seem huge with that continuous wall and ceiling. And it makes us excited to get the other bedroom and the bathroom done. It will add sooo much space!

For now, I hope to be able to show you all the drywall up in the hallway by the end of the week. My other goal for the week is to get the caulking done in the girls' room. That should keep me busy! Here's hoping we all have a productive week! What's on your plate this week?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dropcloth Slipcover---Finally!

Well folks. I did it. And I didn't even swear in the process! I did break two needles on my sewing machine and I did almost break down and cry a time or two, but in the end, I ended up with a decent looking slipcover.
I was inspired by this double ruffle/pleat look I saw over at the home of always inspiring Miss Mustard Seed. I thought there was a chair with a similar look which was truly my inspiration, but I can't find it.

***Edit- I found it!

Gorgeous, right!?

It sure beats what the bench/ottoman looks like without the slipcover!

This is the beginnings of my master bedroom makeover...but I have to finish downstairs first!

This lamp redo is part of the bedroom project as well. I've really been into the deconstructed shade look lately. I decided to rip apart a shade I had, right down to the bones. Once the rest of the bedroom comes together, I'll decide if I want to add any wire and beading to it. Right now, I'm loving the bare bones look of it.

Remember when I found this lamp at Goodwill? A little paint and a nekked shade give it a whole new look!

Go see Miss Mustard Seed and she'll give you some useful tips on making dropcloth slipcovers.
Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog

I'm also linking up again to the slipcover Saturday Night Special linky party at Funky Junk Interiors.
Funky Junk's SNS

Busy Day Ahead

I have a pretty heavy To-Do List today. Last night I pulled a muscle in my back lifting two kids at once. I'm using that as an excuse not to go exercise today. Yesterday I came home with this,

the materials to finish trimming the girls' room. I really have to prioritize right now, so the pulled muscle helps me justify skipping the gym today. This room has GOT to get done. Tomorrow is my day to make the trek to Costco, so I really need to forget about other stuff and just seriously get to it today! So, I'm going to head to the basement and try to work my tail off, because there are a few other things on my list that I'd like to get to finishing that slipcover and making cheese crackers. Several people have asked me to share the cheese cracker recipe, so look for that soon as well.

OK, here I go!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Few Thoughts Before I Drift Off To Sleep...

I spent a couple hours today fighting with my sewing machine in an attempt to finish up the slipcover for my ottoman in my bedroom. My fingertips are tender, though no longer bleeding, (time to buy a thimble), but still it is unfinished. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a seamstress. I can figure out how to cut out fabric and how to piece it together, but I guess I just don't know the ins and outs of working my machine. Or maybe everyone fights with their machine, I don't know. I'm convinced, though, that there is some secret formula, like tension x stitch length squared = my machine not jamming up. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with working with the heavy dropcloth. Either way, I decided I needed a break. Tomorrow, hopefully, I will attach the skirt and be done.

I've been brainstorming a blog topic idea today. I'm kind of excited about it. I'm thinking of featuring one of my inherited dishes from my grandmothers each week. I've been wanting to document the story behind each piece along with a picture so I'll always remember and be able to tell my kids about them. So why not do that here? And actually, I probably won't just do dishes, I'll also feature things like hankies, aprons, costume jewelry, and any other baubles I inherited from my grandmothers. What do you think? I was actually inspired by Lynn at Cottage and Creek. Her hankies and nostalgic tone got me thinking. Thanks, Lynn!

Tomorrow I'm going to pick up a load of materials for finishing the girls' bedroom. I'm soooo excited to wrap up this eternal project!

Right now, though, it's waaaaay past my bedtime!