Thursday, February 28, 2013

She Will Be Inspired by a Birthday Present

My birthday was at the end of January and as always, it was a great day!  I received many thoughtful and well appreciated gifts, but one stuck out in particular.  My sister-in-law found this fun picture at Hobby Lobby and thought of me!

 The color scheme is a perfect fit with our style, but we had a hard time deciding where to put it.  Matt finally came up with the idea of hanging it on the wall soffit above the sink.

My photography skills are severely lacking so the lighting and viewpoint is awful, but the picture does look great above the sink.  Unfortunately, this left us with a blank soffit above the stove and fridge!  What is a Pinterest fan to do?  Fortunately, I did remember some fun kitchen printables I saw on Pinterest from Over the Big Moon

As you know from my last Valentine's Day project, our printer is NOT up to any heavy duty printing, so this was not an option.  Since I love my silhouette and am always looking for a new way to use it, I thought this would be a great project.

I knew I wanted to do a layered effect with three different colored papers that matched my new picture and white on the bottom.  Off to Michaels I went and I was extremely luck in finding a green, navy blue, and bright orange that worked perfectly with my design aesthetic and the picture.  I also stopped at Meijer's to pick up three $5 white frames.  The wall soffit is only 12 inches high, so we wanted something with a small frame.

I decided to start with the "Be Grateful" sign as I thought this would be the most difficult, but was also my favorite of the three phrases.  We had already decided that we wanted the pictures to be horizontal instead of vertical to match the original picture, so we knew the layout would be different than the original.  The project had not been going on too long before I realized that there was no way to use a holed grater and NOT have to glue tons of little dots.  Since I have zero patience for that type of thing, I decided to go a different route.  Some graters out there use lines so you can grate whole slices of cheese, but lines wouldn't be fun to look at so I pulled out the zig zag border from the Silhouette library and came up with the sign below.

Even though it doesn't have the holes, you still get the grater effect.  Below is a wonky view of the sign with the $5 white frame.

The next sign I worked on was Roll With It.  I used a different roller pattern and layout, but again I think it turned out really well.

Neither Matt nor I loved the Spoonful of Sugar phrase, so we immediately started to brainstorm different ideas.  It was Matt who eventually suggested "Variety is the Spice of Life" and using pictures of different types of peppers.  I liked the idea, but went one step further and suggested "Spice Up Your Life" with just one pepper.  I told Matt my reasoning behind this change was that it would be more consistent with the other pictures as it used just one picture and was still an action, if you will, instead of a phrase (i wanted to call this parallel structure, but I don't think that is the right word here)  While this is true, "Spice Up Your Life" is also a Spice Girls song and I LOVE the Spice Girls!

How amazing is this!  I get to use a Spice Girl song title to decorate my kitchen and it gets approval from my husband (granted, he really does not have a clue)!

The final product turned out great and I love the splash of color it adds to the otherwise drab kitchen.  I'm working on "spicing" up the kitchen a little more, but that may still take some time.  In the meantime, I also purchased fabric to make window cornices and it turns out the colors in the fabric perfectly match the colors in the pictures I just created for the kitchen!  I didn't even plan it!  It's fate, kismet, destiny!

If you are interested in making these designs for your own kitchen using the Silhouette, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I would be happy to share my templates.  I also created one with a knife that read "Stay Sharp," but it didn't make the cut (hahahahahah).  Seriously, I crack myself up!


Monday, February 18, 2013

A Friend Will Make the Best Crock Pot Recipe EVER!

We had some friends over for dinner a couple of weeks ago and they brought the most amazing crock pot meal ever!  We made it ourselves for my birthday at the end of January and decided to bring it out again for Valentine's Day.  Check it out below!

Crockpot Cheese Tortellini
Degree of Difficulty: 2
Mess Factor: 3
Taste: 9-10 (depends on sausage used)

Like always, I have linked back to the original blog that posted this recipe, but I am going to share the ingredients below because this is so simple you never need to write down the recipe!

  • 1 bag of frozen tortellini
  • 1 small bag of fresh spinach (we used 1/2 of bag found in salad section)
  • 2 cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 box or 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 block of cream cheese (cut into chunks)
  • 1 lb of roll or ground sausage (we used Italian)
The first step is to brown the sausage.  If you have read my blog before, you know I don't like taking any additional steps with my crock pot recipes, but I am willing to complete this step without complaint since the result is so fabulous!

 Once the sausage has been browned, add all ingredients to the crock pot and set on low.  I took the picture below after adding the spinach, which doesn't make for a good picture, but I didn't want the spinach to get overcooked.

The recipe says to cook on low for 5-6 hours, but if you cook it this long the pasta will get mushy.  I definitely think I would try it for about 3 or so hours next time.  You may want to give the meal a stir about a half hour or hour before serving to ensure the spinach gets mixed in along with the cream cheese.
 After the meal is done, serve it up and wait for the compliments!  Since this is a pretty saucy dish, I think garlic bread is a perfect complement to soak up all that sauce!
I started eating before I took the picture, it was too good to resist!
I decided to show an after picture so you can see this is plate licking delicious!
I would encourage EVERYONE to try this one out.  I have already sent it to my family and my co-workers. If you try it out, let me know how it goes and if you made any edits/additions that are worth trying out.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

She Will Spend WAY Too Much Time on Valentines!

I always have grandiose plans for Valentine's Day and this year was no different.  I scoured Pinterest and the internet for Valentine ideas that did not include candy.  Morgan gets tons of candy for Valentine's Day, so I was hoping to give out something a little different.  I came up with tons of ideas and haven't settled on the final plan, but I'll be sure to share that later this week.  I did come across a great idea for teacher's gifts that all came together rather well.

First, I need to start by stating this past weekend was Lady's Weekend in Michigan with my sister and mom.  We spent Saturday shopping at the outlet mall, checking out a winery, eating and most importantly, drinking (perhaps a little too much for me).  While shopping at the outlet, we came across a big sale at Bath & Body Works.  I was able to pick up travel size bottles of their Valentine-appropriate scent, Paris Amour, for a steal!

I was going to use my regular printer (boring) to create a fun tag and then cut out the shape using my Silhouette, but I found that either my printer is out of ink or it just chooses to print anything I send.  Either way, I had to improvise and use the Silhouette alone.  This was a great learning experience because I have a complete understanding now of what fonts will and won't work.  For example, big fat fonts are perfect but skinny, script-like fonts are a disaster! Seriously, PAY ATTENTION!  The script font was a PAIN IN THE BUTT and took forever to ensure all of the letters were cut out.  In the end, I was covered with small white specks of paper and I was exhausted even with the thought of using my Silhouette again.
We were SOAPIN you'd be our Valentine!

Either way, I do think they turned out well and I like the double color.  I picked up some personalized stamps for my girls from Pick Your Plum a couple of months ago and this was the perfect opportunity to give them a go!

 It's a little faint in the picture, but I was able to stamp their names on the bag with green ink (whitish silver did not show up very well and I thought red would clash).  I'm pretty proud of the final product and I really feel it's something the teachers at Morgan and Amelia's daycare will appreciate!

I'll be back on Friday to share our Valentine's Dinner and my final decision for the girl's Valentine treats.  I hope everyone has a fun and happy Valentine's Day!