Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Season's Greetings!

Despite an interesting Christmas (explanation and picture to follow next week), me and my family wish you a wonderful Christmas.



DIY Wednesday: Kitchen Island

Hello Everyone,

Going with the kitchen remodel projects, I have another project my husband and I did over the past few weeks. We have an awkward kitchen. I have a mobile dishwasher and it would just hover in the middle of the room by itself. We also had a table shoved up against a wall. You would watch the wall while you ate.

So I wanted a super easy cheap fast island. I drew up these designs to allow the dishwasher to slide underneath. I also got a rolling silver cart to put my standing mixer on. (There isn't a cabinet that fits it) I got two stools for $60.00. So, I think the entire thing, including the two stools, cost around $100.00.

So my husband made the island. It's simple plain plywood with two supports on the sides. I got decorative trim and painted the island white. I could have gotten a legitimate countertop, but I decided to do something simple (and cheap) since we're going to be moving in a few months. So for the top, I just got an inexpensive heavy-duty shelf liner. I put some decorative scrapbook paper underneath since the liner was see through. This type of top can be removed and changed when I feel like I want to change the design.

This is the island right after my husband built it, and I nailed the trim on the island. I (proudly) put together the stools.

This picture depicts the "after" when I painted the supports and the side. I didn't have the top quite done, but it's nothing particularly exciting. Just a light blue top with a white-ish clear top.

Finished top and all.


Monday, December 14, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Scrapbook Paper Wreath

Hi Everyone!

I have one holiday project to share with you. I saw this idea last year on One Pretty Thing and I knew I wanted to try it eventually. I picked up the paper this summer at a fabulous scrapbook store in Pierre. I finally had the time this weekend to try it out, and I think it turned out pretty good!

First, you need to find some wrapping paper or scrapbook paper to use. I used two different designs plus a solid color paper as an accent. I made a pattern by just drawing a leaf shape. I cut out about 9 sheets of paper.

Second, I made a wreath to staple to with foam board. I used this pot lid as a guide for the shape. I used my Exact-o knife to cut out the foam. Now, if I remember correctly, the other wreath I saw only used poster board. So you could use that it would probably be easier to cut out.

Third, I started to staple the paper in a pattern around the wreath. You roll the end you are going to staple and make sure each leaf covers both staples and the foam board up. Once you've done half you switch direction.

This is the mostly finished result. I'm going to have to add a ribbon at the top to cover up the few staples that are showing. I think for a couple hour project, it turned out pretty good!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Burp Cloths

Hi Everyone!

I have a much more fun project to show off, but I left the pictures at home. It will have to wait until next week. This is a little project I worked on for myself. My husband and I found out a few months ago that we're expecting our first child. It was quite unexpected since I am still in school, but the timing worked out alright. I'm due May 21st, and I'll graduate on May 7th with my JD.

Anyways, I'm going to try to craft many things for the baby so I don't have to purchase them. Plus, it's nice to have some homemade things to pass along. These were my first project. I decided to try this new method of sewing burp cloths. I started out by sewing about an inch in and then tucking the ends in & sewing a 1/4 to make a nice pretty hem around the cloth. I used my favorite fabric and flat fold cloth diapers.

It's an odd mixture of fabric, but it was all the fun fabric I had sitting around the house.

The new cleaner way I made the hems.

Fun Fabric!

Finished burp cloth and soon-to-be-made ones.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

DIY Wednesday: $10 Backsplash

Hi Everyone,

I did a little project last Monday night as a breather from school work. It seems like I clean quite a bit during finals, because it's a good way to avoid studying. ha ha. This DIY Wednesday is for last week. I'm finally done with the bulk of finals, touching up some pictures and finally found the time to post something.

I did two things. I started painting the island my husband built for me. I also installed my own back splash in the kitchen. About 2 years ago, we took down all the wallpaper in our kitchen and painted. The area under the cabinets also had wallpaper. We had just left it stripped with the idea we would do a back splash eventually. Well, I got sick of waiting on the men to figure out what tile to use and decided to try something I saw on a home improvement show. My HGTV obsession finally did something for me.

The sheet of plastic tile cost about $10.00. I cut everything to size and attached it with some adhesive caulk. If I would redo it, I would have been a better about cutting. I'm not the best measurer. Oh well. So here's the new back splash. It will really pop when we redo the counter top. This might be the plan for a DIY counter top. I just have to figure out what color is going to look the best with an orange kitchen. That's very hard for me.

This is the "back splash" before. This is what was left after removing layers and layers of wallpaper.

This is the "after." The counter tops are quite ugly, but that's another project for another day.

This is how they look with all the junk added to counter.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Bridal Shower Food

Hi Everyone!

This is the last installment of bridal shower DIY Wednesday posts. Since I will be busy with school, packing and driving tomorrow for the holiday, I thought I would go ahead and post this today. This post is going to center around the food I created for the shower.

First of all, I'm not a foodie. At all. I'm not a good cook either. I am competent (most of the time). However, these recipes are very easy and taste great (according me...a not foodie).

The Menu

The first item on the menu is the Garden Salad. I was going to be all creative and do a plated Caesar salad. Then, when I evaluated the time I had, I decided to do something fast since I was going to be cooking all the food. So, I got Dole salad, used my salad spinner and put it in some nice bowls. I favor more modern clean line dishes so all my serving dishes are white. Most were gifts as part of my Pampered Chef bridal shower a few years ago.

I tried to make signs to go with all my food. I used the same fonts and colors as previous posts, and I cleaned everything up with my round edge paper cutter.

The meat of the meal was a tenderloin recipe I found. I served it on a white serving dish.

Pork Tenderloin Crusted in Italian Seasonings
Recipe comes from All Recipes

  • 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Mix bread crumbs and olive oil in bowl to reach consistency that would be moist enough to stick to the meat when pressed. Place pork on a shallow cooking sheet. Press the crumb mixture onto all sides of the meat until there is no pink showing, usually 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Bake for at least 35 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) or until there is no pink when the pork is cut. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes, then cut into 1/2 inch slices.

After the Pork Tenderloin, I found a recipe for mashed potatoes. This recipe is a bit heavy on the garlic, so when I made it for the shower, I didn't use much at all. I served this in a round silver chaffing dish.

Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Recipe is from Food Network.

  • 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture, salt, and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

I couldn't decide between two green bean recipes. I did a modified version of both mixed together. I personally liked the blue cheese recipe more, but I know blue cheese is an acquired taste.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Green Beans

Recipe is from Delish.


  • 1 pound(s) green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup(s) water
  • 2 teaspoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup(s) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup(s) toasted chopped walnuts
  1. Bring green beans and water to a boil in a large skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are just tender, 3 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  2. Add oil, salt, and pepper to the pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and toss with blue cheese until well coated. Sprinkle each serving with walnuts.
Green Beans with Bacon and Hazelnuts
Recipe from Delish.


  • 1 teaspoon(s) canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 pound(s) green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup(s) water
  • 2 slice(s) bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped toasted hazelnuts, (see Tip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add green beans and cook, stirring often, until seared in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Add water; cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes for tender-crisp or 6 minutes for tender. Remove from heat and stir in bacon, hazelnuts and salt.

In addition to these recipes, I did get a few things from the store (including the salad). I got the rolls and brownies from a local grocery store bakery. The punch was a simple mixture. I got Dole fruit juice (I believe Pineapple-Orange juice) and mixed it evenly with ginger ale. I added fresh fruit to the juice to add a bit of decoration and flavor.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Bridal Shower Games

Hi Everyone,

I am spending the next few DIY Wednesdays going through a bridal shower I threw a few weeks ago. I did many DIY projects with the shower that I'm explaining in case you want to try one of them for a shower or even a wedding.

The Games.

As I explained last week, I didn't want to do the traditional games. I often get mixed responses from people when I deviate from the midwest traditions. I remember getting all sorts of comments about not doing a dollar dance or garter auction at my wedding or refusing to sell anything at bars during my Bachelorette Party. I simply do not enjoy those activities and would be miserable doing them. So, here comes the non-traditional bridal shower games.

The Scrapbook Bar.

I did this as a passive sort-of game. Something that everyone could have fun with, but wouldn't be compelled into doing. Also, the bride would have a scrapbook to take home with her.

I started out with creating a scrapbook template for everyone. I got the 12 x 12 scrapbook paper and created a bunch of questions for guests to answer. They were along the lines of, "How do you know the Bride or Groom?" "What is your advice for the Bride and Groom?" "Draw a picture of Bride and Groom on their wedding day" and other goofy stuff.

Then, I went out and bought a ton of bridal shower/wedding scrapbook stickers. I already had a fairly good collection of scrapbook tools (edge hole punchers, scissors, glue, various embellishments). I know people (as well as me) prefer stickers especially if they aren't particularly into scrapbooking (also like me). So, over the past couple of months I gathered these products up.

Then at the shower, we had a table dedicated to the "scrapbook bar." I had a rotating three tier serving dish that I used to put some of the supplies on. I'm currently in the process of putting the scrapbook pages together in a scrapbook for the bride. This is also a good way to do a guest book without actually doing a guest book.

Bridal Shower Bingo.

I created this game after finding some information about it online. The concept is you have your guests fill out the squares with gifts they think the bride might get. The center "free" square is the gift you got the bride. Then, the winner gets a prize. There wasn't all that many people at the shower, but we still got a bingo. This was a way to make that awkward time during gift opening a little bit less awkward. (I know I hated having all the eyes on me during that time. It was weird)

I created these Bingo cards in Photoshop and had them printed when I printed the invites.

Next week I will talk about the menu I created. I made all the food by myself (with my husband's very gracious help). So, I'll have some pictures of how I served it/dressed it up as well as some recipes if you'd like to try any of the food.


The Bridal Shower: Table Settings

Hello There,

Well, it's not Wednesday but I'll be home tomorrow and won't be able to post. Welcome to a HUGE POST especially since I'll be talking about the Bridal Shower over several weeks. Those of you who know me know I have been working on this bridal shower for a year. Yes, an entire flipping year. Was it worth it? To be honest, probably not considering the amount of time and money ratio, but it doesn't matter if it's worth it to me! That's not the point of putting on a shower. The bride and guests are the ones that are suppose to enjoy it!

Many MANY elements of the shower are DIY. I'll first start with a general explanation of the shower. I was going for an elegant yet relaxed theme. I chose the Museum of Visual Materials in Sioux Falls for the local. Not only do they have an beautiful building, they also have an extremely nice kitchen for you to use and are extremely affordable for the beauty of the building.

Building on this "elegant" theme, I decided to dress the tables. So, instead of just doing just tableclothes, I created a place setting for each seat. Each place setting was cost-effective while still (trying) to be elegant and classy. This post will surround the tables I created.

First of all, I started out with a DIY table runner. I bought the fabric from Hobby Lobby (a LOT of fabric) and cut each runner with a rotary cutter (a quilters best friend) and clear ruler. The runner pattern was a lovely purple, ivory and aqua color combination. The rest of the colors of the shower played around this idea. I created a pattern in my head using the measurements of the tables.

I have several vases left over from my own wedding. We are using the heck out of these vases. They have appeared I believe at 3 or 4 other weddings and 2 or 3 other parties. I used these vases on the table with river rock I purchased from Hobby Lobby for this shower exclusively. The flowers were purchased the day of the shower in bouquets and separated among the vases. The flowers were quite fragrant, but not too bad so they overwhelmed the meal. I hope. :)

Second, I marked the individual place setting with a little trick I picked up on Hostess with the Mostess....scrapbook paper instead of a traditional charger. It's more cost effective, and I'm not stuck with tons of chargers. Next, I added the plate. Not just any ordinary plastic plate but a square heavy-duty plate. I wanted the plate to look and feel like a real plate, but not have the same cost and clean-up issues. I feel like this picture doesn't quite capture the place setting, but it works.

After the plates, came the napkins and menus. The napkins were DIY from purple light cotton fabric from Hobby Lobby. They were also cut with the rotary cutter and sewn together by my very helpful mother. :)

The menus were also DIY. I printed them with dark purple ink, using fonts from the invites (talked about in this post) on resume ivory paper. They were then cut with a straight cutter and the corners were rounded with the rounding hole punch. The menu with recipes will be featured on a different post a different day. :)

To finish the place settings off, I had silver-colored plastic silverware. They look and feel like actual silverware. Once again, more cost-effective yet still within the theme.

Instead of plain glasses, I took another hint from Hostess with the Mostess and used mason jars. Instead of plain mason jars, I ordered lids with this daisy cut pattern. I then slipped straws into the hole in the center. Fun but still functional.

Next week, I'll be discussing the "games" I had at the shower. The latest trend in bridal showers is to avoid the traditional, sometimes cheesy, bridal shower games. I took a more passive approach to getting guests involved. There was a mixed response to it since it's not traditional in the midwest to forgo games.


DIY Bridal Shower Sign

Hi There!

Weeks ago, I hosted a bridal shower for a close friend (in fact she was the maid-of-honor at my wedding!) I did many DIY projects for the wedding and this is one of them. The next couple of DIY Wednesday will be dedicated to the shower projects.

I used this method to create the sign. I wanted to practice the process and make sure that it would work well if I wanted to make some wooden signs for Christmas. I used the fonts I used for the shower invitation.

I started out by creating sign in Microsoft Word and printing it out. I then traced the font with the carbon paper underneath on to a piece of foam board. Then, I had an outline to paint. After painting, I outlined the letters with a paint marker. (Which I had never used before, but they are quite amazing!)

The print out of the font I want to mimic. I could have used Microsoft Publisher (probably would have been easier) but you can also use Microsoft Word.

Here is the outline of the sign. It seems pretty at this point, but maybe a bit plain.

Here is the finished sign. I created the little design in the corner by taking the fabric I was going to use for table runners and putting it on top of carbon paper and tracing. So it's literally right from the fabric I based the entire shower color theme on.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Roman Shades

Hi There,

This is a little DIY. I wanted to have all the windows in the kitchen have the same sort of window treatment. So, I purchased these roman shades from (It was the cheapest website I found for this type of shade..about $14.99 per shade and only $3.00 in shipping)

When you put up bamboo-like shades, you have to be prepared that they are see through. It's just the nature of the product. You often can purchase pieces of fabric to Velcro to the back called, "privacy shade." Why buy this privacy shade when I have loads of fabric sitting around?

So, I grabbed some of that fun Hobby Lobby fabric I had sitting around and a needle and thread. I didn't bother hemming around the fabric. I just tucked it under and put the thread through both layers. For about $15.00 a curtain, I think I did pretty good!


Here's the front of the curtain in my very orange kitchen.


Here's the view of the curtain from the enclosed porch.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Siding of House

Hi Everyone!

This is a project has has been a year in the making. My house finally has siding! My dad, uncle (Keith Starkweather...great handy man out of Dow City, IA...I recommend him to anyone and everyone..he knows his stuff! E-mail me for his information!), brother and husband all took turns working on the house. All the work was done in two weekends.

To be honest, the only DIY part of this project I did was pick the trim color. It's called "prairie wheat."

"Before" Picture This the back of the house. Don't you love the green trim?

Another picture of the back of the house.

"After" Picture. This is the front of the house.

Polka Dot BBQ

A couple of weeks ago I had a Back to School BBQ, and I had the misfortune of scheduling during Ribfest here in town. No matter, I had a good group of people, and we enjoyed ourselves. I created the Polka Dot theme based off the Polka Dot fabric I love from Hobby Lobby. BTW. Hobby Lobby has many of its fabric designs available in matching scrapbook paper.

Sorry about the blur...this is the whole spread with the canopy, lights, and decorations. We were in the mist of siding so that's the deal with the trailer.

Napkin rolls. I cut up the matching scrapbook paper and made the rolls from there. I tried to be a bit "green" with recycled paper napkins, recycled plastic silverware and biodegradable sugarcane plates.

One of the table settings..the other had a full tablecloth with a polka dot table runner. All no sew by folding edges under and securing with binder clips to the table.

Napkin rolls in my pretty new thrift store bowl. (got to love 10 cent bowls!)

Paper lanterns hanging from tree...isn't that shed ugly?!? I'm hoping the shed goes bye bye in a few weeks.

Closer picture of the paper lanterns (and my DIY bean bag game and DIY fenced in area for our dogs!)

I didn't get a picture, but I also had bowls and serving platters in the colors of the polka dot fabric. I also used the scrapbook paper to decorate the table for the buffet dinner.

I think the polka dot theme would be great for a baby shower. It's fun and playful and unisex!

Blogger Template Created by pipdig