Thursday, 28 June 2012

Pretty Menu Planner

My brilliantly-talented friend A came across these two images on Pinterest.  Since we talk about menu planning every other week in our Tuesday morning moms' group, she told us about it, and many of us wanted to try it!    So this week, we all brought our crafting stuff and got busy!

Basically, this pretty menu-planning board takes all the hard work out of a job that most of us always mean to do but never get around to.  The top pocket holds cards with all my usual meals written on them, plus a few new ones.  Each week, all I have to do is chose seven meals clip them onto the appropriate day, and my meals are planned!  Eventually I want to write the ingredients on the back of each card for an almost instant shopping list.

In my version, I hot-glued the pockets and the "menu" on top of the glass.  Most of my friends just removed it.  I didn't want to have to find a place to store a sheet of glass.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Projects and Pie

I'm feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed right now.  This picture shows a small portion of the projects I'm working on.  The middle section is for the fairy birthday party, the stack of fabric on the right is a baby shower gift commissioned by a friend, and the frame is a pinterest-inspired project that I'll show you tomorrow, and the rest are for gifts.  I just have to remind myself to take it one thing at a time!  Since I took this photo, I've already completed one and a half of the projects.

Another thing I checked off my list is baking my annual excess of fresh strawberry pie.  I'll bring these to a barbecue we're going to tonight.  Topped with whipped cream, they're a perfect summer dessert.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Paper Cannibalism

I am not a card maker.  I really enjoy making cards, and I have lots of stuff to make cards, but I don't know why I'm not more into it.  Maybe because it takes me at least an hour to make one...most of that time spent fiddling with the design.  And I really love finding pretty and clever note cards to give instead.

When I do make cards, I usually cannibalise bits and pieces left over from other projects, or even from cards that other people have given me.  For example, the green card above is made from a scrap of fabric left from Baby Mason's gifts, and an extra of a printed wordle design that I made for my nephew.  The pink and red card has a bit of scrapbook paper that fell off a notebook that I embellished, and a piece of a friend's wedding program.

My daughter does the same, using many many more elements, including: wrapping paper, cards, candy wrappers, envelopes, and scalloped tissue paper.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Recommencing DIY

I've been horribly unmotivated on the blog for the past week or two or three.  Sorry about that.  It's probably because I haven't really been doing anything worth posting about.  Just visiting mom, packing for mom, moving for mom, and the usual shopping, half-hearted-housekeeping, half-completed-laundry, etc.

Now that my mom is moved into a beautiful, wonderful, and close-to-home assisted living facility instead of in a hospital downtown, I had to give her back her dresser.  She lent it to us when we were putting together our nursery in our last house, since she didn't need it at the time.  The knotty-pine finish coordinated nicely with the also-second-hand oak crib and change table.  We used it for both babies, and it was most recently residing in my boy's room.

I hadn't even started looking for a replacement, and his clothes were in mostly-neat piles along the wall, when I stumbled across this little white one at Goodwill this week.  It is solid wood...and I mean solid!  Except for the MDF drawer construction, but even those are in great shape.  I love the versatile size and dimensions, and the drawers (on wooden glides) work better than any other dresser in our house.  We've never bought a dresser in a furniture store.

I can't wait to paint it and find new handles.  I'm thinking navy blue, and I'll paint his headboard and foot-board the same colour.  I'm planning to use behr paint+primer, since I had such great results with it on the coffee table.  After 18 months, the coffee table has one tiny little chip in the paint, and a little paint transfer from something else (and we're not particularly gentle with it either).  I'd use the wonderous chalk paint, but I don't think I can afford it yet (sorry Leanne!)

This project may have to wait 'til after the fairy birthday party, since I have several other things on my to do list, but I can't wait to get started on this dresser!

What colour would you paint it? Or where would you use it in your house?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Flower or Weed? Mystery Solved!

So the answer to the question, "Is it a flower or a weed" is "Yes!"  Snapdragons do grow as weeds here, but they also are planted as annuals.  I think they came in with some topsoil we got from a neighbour, since I saw some growing in his yard too

I was so close to pulling them all up last week, but I'm glad I didn't.  I'll enjoy them this year.  Here are some of the other things blooming in our front yard right now.  I should have caged the white peonies.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Fairy Fabulous Invitations

We recently got a party invitation for my niece, whose birthday is one week after Juli's.  Until now, I've barely spared a thought for Juliana's party, only thinking of it when she mentioned something about it.  Oops, I guess I'd better get on that!  Juli had told her friends a month or two ago that she was having a fairy party, so I decided to go with that.  My concept leans more on the woodland fairy with a sprinkling of Disney than on the pink, girly, sparkly version.  Thanks to Pinterest for some great inspiration!  I won't go all out with decorations, especially since the party will be held at the lake, not at my house.

I had a flawed concept for the invitations (I was going to make them leaf-shaped with fabric sewn on the back).  But I salvaged my printout once I realised that wouldn't work, and went for these little brown pockets instead.  I've always loved what I call "paper sculpture", so I cut out bits to make the little mushroom decorations.

I completed these between 9 and 11 pm on Monday.  And of course first thing Tuesday morning, I thought of much better wording, and realised that I forgot to put any RSVP info on the invitations.  Good thing all the parents are my friends!  I don't know what I'm going to do about parties once Juliana hits school age and I don't know her friends' parents...maybe I'll just be thankful that her birthday is in the summer?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Conversing about Converse All-Stars

When I was about 10 years old, I had two kinds of shoes on my wish list: pink and white and neon green high-tops like my sister had (luckily, I grew out of this one), and Converse All-Stars.  Back then I didn't even know what they were called, being a sometimes-welfare-kid running around barefoot with no concept of brand names except adidas (All Day I Dream About Selena?).  But I knew I liked them.

So, lucky for me, they're still around and still in style!  As a post-birthday treat for myself, and to replace my other shoes that are falling apart, I bought a pair.  You'd think I would have chosen turquoise or red or yellow, but I wanted grey.  So far, I love them!  They're so comfortable already.

Although maybe I'm not really cool enough to wear them since I don't call them "Chucks".

What about you?  Did you have a wish from childhood that you've indulged as an adult?  Or maybe there is something still on your list that you haven't gotten yet.  Next on my list: a horse.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Died-And-Gone-To-Heaven Chocolate Cake

My cake was a success!  It was beautiful, if a tad crooked, and it tasted heavenly.  Especially the chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Although  just now I wouldn't mind not seeing any chocolate for at least a week!

The recipe is from the "You're Gonna Die Anyway" section of the Eat, Shrink, and be Merry cook book.  I made it for my friend's birthday.  We had a little party today, with four moms, seven kids (later nine kids once the first-graders got home), and some delicious food in addition to the cake.  One friend is from the east coast and makes an amazing fish chowder.

This is the birthday girl looking forward to tasting the cake!  She let me post this particular picture.  She is one of the sweetest (and chattiest) people I know.  I always smile after a conversation with her.  Happy birthday dear!

Any tips on making chocolate curls?  This is my second failed attempt.  I always end up with chocolate crumbles instead.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Blueberries and Baking a Cake

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the beautiful blueberries I had for breakfast the other day.

I've been baking for twenty years or so.  I started with sugar cookies, and moved on to pies.  One thing I've never baked though is a cake.  Sure, I've used boxed mixes, with mixed results, but I've never done one from scratch. (except for a Scottish Sultana cake...but that's more of a coffee cake).

We're having a little lunchtime party for my friend's birthday tomorrow, and I get to make the cake!  Using the most gourmet recipe I know of, from the Eat, Shrink, and be Merry cook book.  I was quite nervous about trying to make a cake with two bouncy preschoolers in the house, but I manged to get all three layers baked with none falling!  I'm quite happy with how the baking turned out!  I'll do the frosting tomorrow morning.  That's the part I had trouble with for Juliana's first birthday cake, and the reason why she ended up with a Dairy Queen cake instead.  Wish me luck!  I'll post a final picture of the cake, good or bad, tomorrow.

I was updating my Facebook page as I baked, and a friend told me something I never knew about baking.  Did you know that all ingredients should be at room temperature before being mixed together?  How have I not learned this sometime in the past twenty years?

I'd love to hear some more baking tips!  Please share your favourites in the comments!