Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It was too late for a white Christmas, but Mother Nature made up for that a big way!  I think we got 10 or so inches of snow at my house.  It snowed for 24 hours straight!  Once the shoveling is done and our long driveway is clear, I can really relax and enjoy it...unless I have to drive, that is. 

Here are a few pictures that I got to snap today while I was out for a few minutes (emphasis on few,'s cold!).

You can see what was left of Layla's snowman from the last snowfall.  He's missing a head and half his torso.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cookies Quickie

For the first time in a long time, I actually busted out the royal icing to decorate my sugar cookies and my gingerbread.  It is so labor intensive and makes such a mess, but it is so worth it every once in a while.  Check out the results...

Okay, I'm done showing off...for now. :)

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Little Bean" Bag and other Christmas Goodies

Remember the bag I made?  The Grandview Bag (link here)?  Well, Layla was so excited about it that I made her a miniature version for a last minute Christmas present.  I think she's gonna love it!

Mammy and Me matching bags

 I just had to make her one of those crayon rolls too.  There are tutorials everywhere for these, but I used the one here at Chocolate on My Cranium.  I did change the height to 7" instead of 5" just felt a little more substantial to me that way.

Loving this Michael Miller bird fabric!

I must be stopped!  I saw these felt cupcakes in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and just had to try to make some.

Pottery Barn Kids version

Although admittedly not as cute, these literally cost pennies to make:

My version

 I used the tutorial here at Sew Hip Mama for the basic construction. 

And finally, something that is NOT for Little Bean (if you can believe it)...aprons!  I made a few of these and already sent them off, but here is the last one standing.  These are so cute and a cinch to make.  Here is the tutorial from Stop Staring and Start Sewing.  Here's hoping none of the recipients read this blog!

What gifts did you make for the holidays?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meal Plan for Christmas Week

A day late and a (few) dollars short.  This meal plan is not cheap, but then again, it's the holidays, and what is?

I think it is just going to be the three of us for Christmas Eve and Christmas I am keeping it relatively simple and there is absolutely nothing traditional about it.

Meal #1 (Anniversary Dinner as requested by Mr. Bean)Green Chicken Enchiladas with Corn Salad (For the enchiladas, I omit the lime and chili powder and use 2 jars of salsa, I also swap out queso fresco for pepperjack cheese - these are absolutely THE best)

Meal #2:  Blackened Salmon with Apple, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad

Meal #3:  Tuna Melts with Artichoke Hearts and Parmesan

Christmas EveCrab and Corn Chowder with Cheddar-Chive Biscuits

Christmas BrunchPanettone French Toast and Crab Quiche (Be sure to soak panettone in egg mixture for 1 minute per side - not 10 seconds like the recipe says - to really get that creamy texture in the middle)

Christmas DinnerChicken and Squash Lasagna with Salad and Chocolate Mousse

And just in case anyone is curious, here is my baking list (still a work in progress):

Christmas Toffee Bars
Oreo Truffles (sooo easy and insanely delicious!)
Citrus Sugar Cookies

I also made Pumpkin Spice Truffles, but I really don't like them and I also made Fruit Jellies but I didn't care for those either.  I think it's better to just stick with the classics.

What are your holiday cooking/baking traditions?  I would love to hear!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Gorgeous New Grandview Bag

Thank you, thank you to The Boy Trifecta for this amazing tutorial!  I am so loving this bag.  It's genius!

I used  a teal corduroy for the exterior and cotton polka dots for the lining.  I added a snap and some pockets to the inside to make it a little more usable for me.

I must not have paid enough attention to the tutorial when it came to the purse strap, but if you make this bag, be sure to shorten was too long for me.  I just tied a knot in it for now, which actually works with this bag, I think.  Maybe I'll fix it the right way, but this works for the time being.

I highly recommend making one of these's not as daunting as it looks.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Holiday Decor

I am painfully behind on creating tutorials/new projects.  I am too busy making everybody else's for Christmas gifts!

So, just so I feel like I am doing something, here are a few pics of my home decorated for the holidays.  Please try to ignore any mess you may see in the background.

The one on the right is striped, not pink
I have mentioned my mild obsession with throw pillows before.  I used a few from years past and only made eight new ones this year.  Here is a look at the other couch in the room:

That is Zeus, perhaps the best cat in existence.

Loving the fireplace!  My garland (see tutorial here) looks perfect with our stockings.  The only trouble - I have to put in the chocolate right before Little Bean opens it, otherwise it all melts from the fireplace.  Next year, I'll have to be more creative with the contents.

Oh, and yes, we have stockings for our cats.

 Yes, yes, my dining room wall desperately NEEDS something.  I know.  I just can't seem to figure it out.  I made the runner on the table simply because the table is huge and regular size runners look lost.  As long as you have a rotary cutter, this is the easiest project.  I just used bias tape on the edges to make it even easier.

I'm still thinking the tree is lacking something, but I am pretty happy with it.  I am loving the birds that I made from this tutorial

And with the pretty lights and the wintry background.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Meal Plan 12/5 and 12/12

Okay, I was totally sick last week which is why I didn't post my meal plan, but I really did make one and I stuck to it.  For accountability (and future reference for me), here it is:

Meal #1: Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema (Okay, I can't say enough about how delish these are - just double the spice rub for the fish)
Meal #2: Carrot Soup with Crusty Bread (This was amazing too, I switched out fresh ginger (~1/2") for the ground)
Meal #3:  Chicken Paprikash over Egg Noodles with Steamed Broccoli
Meal #4:  Curried Vegetable Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Chutney (OMG!  Try these! I think it would be just fine to leave out the lentils - I didn't really notice them.)

On to the coming week.  Although I am kind of liking being able to review the recipe and share the link if it is a winner.  Hmmm....I'll have to think this one over.  In the meantime, here goes:

Meal #1:  White Bean Stuffed Portabellos with Crusty Bread
Meal #2:  Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Aioli and Spinach Salad
Meal #3:  Red Curry with Yams and Cauliflower
Meal #4:  Greek Salad Pita Wraps
Meal #5:  Macaroni and Cheese (homemade, of course) with more Spinach Salad

Happy meal planning!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reader Projects

I am so thrilled that the Peasant Dress Tutorial is working out for so many of you!  And there have even been a couple of you kind enough to send pics of your projects.  Here they are:

Crystal of Crystal's Big Girl Blog and Dekked Out Baby Bums sent in this cute version made out of fleece.  I love that she used different fabrics for the arms!

And Ashley over at Chickadee Chickadee Clothing made this beauty.  She uses the most amazing fabrics in all of her work.  I really need to figure out what it takes to get sponsored and get some swag.  Anyone know?  Anyways, both the dress and the model are gorgeous!

Thank you ladies for sharing!  I love getting these photos!

Loving My New Camera

If you are a serious photography buff, then you should probably stop reading here.  You will not be impressed by my photos.  I, however, am very excited about them!  I have lots to learn, I admit, but this is a huge improvement for me.

I recently became the proud owner of a Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.  I don't know all of the technical stuff about it, but it has a 35x zoom, which is amazing.  I have been playing around with it a lot these past two days and here are some of my first shots.  Enjoy.  And try not to make fun...I'm learning :)

Lots of Christmas ornament photos

I just thought that this looked so pretty.

Sweet Little Bean in the snow

We made our own ice cubes outside.

Jeremy sledding down the snow pile.

Nothing remarkable here, except I took the photo from 30 feet away.
I want to thank my friend Jill for helping me pick out the camera.  She takes THE most amazing photos - including my current profile pic.  I would not have had a clue what to look for without her.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Over the past two years (ever since Little Bean came into my life), I have really come to understand the true value and importance of having good girlfriends.  Husbands and children are wonderful, but nobody can offer the support, love, and understanding in the same way that your girlfriends can - and the reason behind this:  because they go through the exact same things.

So this post is a huge shout out to all of my girlfriends.  I love and cherish you all.

What brought this on, you might ask?  Well, I was treated to a surprise get together this morning with my lovely ladies...complete with birthday gifts and cheesecake!  I truly can't tell you how much this means to me...that my girls were willing to brave the icy roads from the other end of our city in their 2WD vehicles, at that, to come celebrate with me.

And I have to share with you the gifts...they are all amazing.

First, my gal JC (who, by the way, is my inspiration in the world of sewing) gave me four, yes four, yards of this GORGEOUS fabric.  Check it out!

Not sure exactly what I am going to do with it yet.  I'm thinking maybe matching mommy/daughter peasant dresses.

And, AB gave me the greatest gift...the gift of coffee.  She knows I bleed caffeine.  I am sooo grateful since I rarely find the rationale to splurge at Starbucks!

And my friend ND is so crazy talented, she makes jewelry...and she made me this AMAZING necklace.  It is exactly me.  I adore it.  Don't you?

Where is her etsy store, you ask?  Well, she doesn't have one...yet.  We are all trying to convince her to set one up.  I'll definitely be posting her info when she does.

Thank you to all of my beautiful friends, not just for the gifts, but for your companionship, your quirks, your advice, and for being you. 

And I have to give some love to my husband too, since he purchased me my new camera and gave it to me last night.  I absolutely love it!  The quality of the pictures is sooo much better than my last camera, and I haven't even really figured it out yet.