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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The shortest month of the year! Pinterest in Feb. part 2.

Thought I'd get the rest of our Pinterest content for February updated while we are all taking it easy for a couple of days.

We started off the month by making this bathtub paint for the kiddos. They enjoyed using it for the one night it lasted but the consistency is definitely different than the stuff I've bought before. That being said, this project was a whole lot cheaper too!

Bathtub paint via Rebekah's Pinterest via Team Dischinger

I love that you can pin your own photos to Pinterest too. So rather than searching through the 600 odd photos my phone will hold I can keep ideas and recipes that I'd like to try later in their own labeled folders. (Can't tell I love to organize much?). So my first Pinterest recipe I tried in February was actually a recipe I found in a magazine at the library.

Johnny cakes are described as an old fashioned, cornmeal version of a pancake. Very similar in texture and taste to cornbread, but fried over the stove in butter, not baked. It was a good recipe to try, but doubt I will make them again as cornbread is quicker.  I wasn't enjoying that yout have to stand over the stove flipping cakes as the fry when the oven accomplishes it all for you. We ate these with syrup, butter, and bacon, but they also accompanied chili quite well the following day.

Johnny cakes via Rebekah's Pinterest (but I deleted the pin because I won't be trying them again) via Canadian living.

You can find the table tent project here.

All our Valentine celebrations and projects are here!

Don't these roasted tomatoes took delicious? I used them in this recipe for a quick dish to share when we were invited to some friends house for dinner. I didn't have all the right cheeses so I used some monetary jack, and cheddar in place of the provolone. I also used mozzarella cheese sticks rather than grated mozzarella and it gave the dip a nice gooey texture because the cheese sticks don't completely melt. We accompanied the duo with taco chips and Club's butter crackers I brought back especially from the states. I voted for the crackers.

White Pizza via Rebekahs Pinterest via How Sweet it is

My sister-in-laws shower is approaching at the end of next month. Didn't the invitations turn out nice? I'd have liked a nice popping pregnant lady graphic but lacking the necessary design tools I went with a simple balloon instead. And the saying on the back was found on the Internet... But book lover that I am I just loved this idea that was brought forward by the expecting Mommy! Emma lived helping out the cards in the envelopes and I didn't have to do any of the sealing!

Our last recipe for the month was this delicious strawberry layer cake. Definitely check out this website. I love her picture of the inside of the cake. All those layers of strawberries and cheesecake frosting. Would be an awesome summer picnic dessert! I halved this recipe and divided my cake into three layers and it was more than enough for the eight we had at Sunday dinner. Brad and Emma took it all week in their lunches, too. My little mess maker cracked half the eggs on the counter but she loves to help so I have to try to be encouraging, which sometimes feels like a feat in itself.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting via Rebekah's Pinterest via Perry's Plate

We all survived another long, but short dark month and the sun only climbs from here so on to March we go! Or on to march we march!?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We love to party!

We are not big partiers, in the sense of going out and getting falling-down drunk and doing crazy stunts with friends. Okay, or at all, but oh do our kids love to have a party!  There is actually a running joke at school about Emma's parties already. She invites all the teachers to her house for her big party after school on at least a weekly basis(meanwhile there is absolutely no party happening).

Valentines Day seemed like as good an excuse as any to have a little bash. My sister in law had a cousin of hers and my hubby's visiting from Vancouver so it was nice to get everyone in the immediate family together and V-day provided the perfect excuse!

Since I had to work all day Thursday Moose and I did a lot of the prepping on Wednesday. M&M put her decorating skills to good use when she got home from school. We (the executive here the kitchen is namely me, but we sounds more democratic) decided on pizza, salad, and fruity red drinks followed by chocolate covered pretzel sticks and chocolate sugar cookies.
Of course we had to dress it up a little by making all things hearts: heart pepperonis, XO bacon, the kids had individual heart pizzas, heart cookies, and lots of heart shaped sprinkles.
Plus it's always a fun excuse for presents so I picked a few treats up when I was in Sudbury, plus threw in some books I had ordered from Scholastic.

Fruity Red Drinks via Rebekah's Pinterest via Delightfully Tacky
Chocolate Sugar Cookies (and tons of other fun V-day foods) via Rebekah's Pinterest via Workman Family

We (okay that's me again) also had fun with a project for the kiddos to give daddy as a present: a rack for his ties that has the saying "Daddy's love ties us together." I originally saw the sign on Etsy (that link has since disappeared) via Pinterest but wasn't willing to fork out the cash to purchase it. I found the back board at Michaels for 12$. Got sucked into buying some letters that I only used for the word ties, (but there is lots leftover) at 8$, and found the knobs at Walmart for about 10$. I had the craft paint on hand.
I really debated on whether to use paint or stain, but sealed the deal when I couldn't find the stain I'd used on the shelf in Moose an M&M's room anywhere. First step was to get the knobs onto the board.  I used eight of the ten knobs set at equal distances apart.  This would be super easy if we owned a nice hand drill for finicky work, but ours is a big monstrosity that refused to work at speeds under mach 1.  The second problem was that the screws that came with the knobs had flat ends.

  I solved both problems by grabbing a deck screw and screwdriver and "pre-drilling" with the deck screw. The hole still wasn't always quite big enough to get the cabinet screw with the flat end started, but the screwdriver was an easy tool to ream the hole out enough larger. I was really proud of myself for how well this turned out!

Next I decided to paint the edges brown so it would give the board an old fashioned whitewash look when covered in just enough cream paint that some of the brown still pops through. Lastly I arranged letters several ways and found that I could only use my purchased letters for ties.  The rest I stencilled. I had even more trouble painting this with my stencils than the last project of our family dates, maybe they are getting too worn being only cheap plastic scrapbook ones.  Anyways eventually got them all somewhat perfected and then outlined them in gold with a metallic marker.

Okay I'm actually inordinately proud of this project! And I have to say I love Etsy (Pinterest too) for design inspiration!!

Our only other projects were a couple of quick ones for Valentines Day at school.  For Emma's classroom, as Valentine's, we put together an idea from pinterest.  I found these cute candy bags with hearts on them at Walmart as well as loopy straws with hearts as the loops.  The "card" on top said: "Valentine, you make me loopy."  Cute and much better than more candy or a card that parents want to throw in the garbage as soon as it comes in the door (because they end up scattered all over the house) and only slightly more time consuming than addressing 20 cards.

Loopy Straw's via Rebekah's Pinterest

For the teachers (didn't think they'd want a loopy straw!) we made fruit explosion muffins in heart shaped tins.  Luckily M&M's party was the day after V-day so I snuck in some baking the next morning.  The muffin recipe came from Pinterest.  I basically used the Sparkling Jumbo Muffins and added some bananas (mashed 'em and added at the same time as the milk and eggs) and strawberries.  Unfortunately I didn't have any of the sugar crystal so mine are not nearly as pretty as hers, but super puffy and delicious!

Muffins via Rebekah's Pinterest via Sally's Baking Addiction

Plus I got my favourites: yellow roses am blue hydrangeas! Aren't the beautiful. I think they might be inspiration for my garden planning in a few months! Well be starting from scratch so I'm a little overwhelmed with where to even start.  And my kiddies:  Aren't they the sweetest Valentines ever?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sew what?!

I finally got the sewing machine back out.  This is actually kind of a major task, because although it is in plain sight in the downstairs closet, it fits best underneath a tote of coats and stuck behind several folding chairs plus a 8 drawer organizer, all of which have to be moved in order to get the sewing machine out.  So obviously I have to be more than a little inspired in order to do all that work before I can even begin a project.

I've had some projects pinned to Pinterest (where else?) for some time.  While I was in the big city last week I stopped into Fabric Land to pick up some things I needed for my sister-in-law's shower at the end of March.  I also browsed the clearance section and found this semi-heavy duty, albeit boring cloth that I though would hold up great for a table tent.  At 3.00 per metre, I bought 5 metres. I had plenty for the tent and hopefully a longer lasting creation than those plastic sticks and nylon material that you pay at least $15 for. 

Saturday it was only Emma and I home in the morning so I decided it was a good time to make an attempt.  Originally the plan was to follow the directions from this pin.  However the link proved to be dead so I figured without eating up all my toddlerless time in further research to just forge ahead directionless.  I ended up laying my 5metres of fabric across the table lengthwise.  Leaving a little extra on the floor at both the head and foot of the table I cut off the extra.  Next I cut out two side panels.  (You could also do five panels to have a more professional looking finish, but I figured with my abilities, the top would end up having a too short side or some other ridiculousness so I decided to go with only three panels.)

M&M wanted to have a door on the long side of the table with one circle window and one square one. The easiest way to cut out a rectangle is to fold the fabric wherever you would like the middle of your window to be and then cut a smaller rectangle so that  when you unfold the material you have said rectangular window.

I really wanted to do cross panels for panes in the windows, so I figured the best way to be able to attach them would be to add material on the back of the window.  So seams out I sewed four strips of material on the window and then flipped them out and sewed them up the back.  This got really tricky and ended up not at all like I wanted.

The material made a neat outer hem, but added a lot of bulk and the window sags a fair amount.  I'd gotten kind of sick of working on that side of the tent so I decided to start on the other side instead of going at the cross pieces for window panes.

For the door I cut a slit up the side of the fabric and then pinned two chunks of fabric seam side out so that there would also be a nice finished seam on the outside.  My first attempt I stopped at the top and did some funky manoeuvring to try to get the two pieces back together.  My second attempt due to another mistake I started at the bottom and just sewed one seam all the way up one side, across a little at the top and back down the other side.  It was much neater on the inside, but both ways looked good from outside.
Door from the outside.

For the circular window I again folded the fabric in half and cut a half-circle out and unfolded to an imperfect oval.   I ended up snipping a few bits and pieces and came out with a much better looking circle.

For the seam on this one I thought I would try pinning a seam by rolling the fabric under itself.  This worked much better and was far less bulky than the rectangular window.

Next step was to sew on the two long side panels.  For this step I pinned the two sides of the panel together where they would fall over the legs of the panel.  The longer panel that ran the entire length of the table continued when I had reached the top of the shorter panels so I pinned the next side of the panel into the never ending panel and surprisingly the corners turned out not too bad.  The step had to be repeated once more when the length (of the table) was reached and you continued down the far leg. 

At this stage I thought I was pretty much set.  As I finished up the last bit I realized something was wrong.  The first panel went on fine and there was about 2 inches of extra material because in the very beginning I had left a bit extra on either end.  I assumed I'd cut it off once I finsihed getting the second panel on.
As the second panel came together I realized there was a lot more extra appearing on the skinny end of the table.  I had grabbed some extra material rather than the matching panel and sewed my door and window into that. They were similar in size but not perfect!  On the far side the panel comes together okay, but on the closer end the corner is really off and the table leg was showing.  Knowing I still had to put a bottom seam around the entire tent I decided to start over and use the correct panel. 
I'm glad I did, even though the hubby kept saying it was fine, just leave it.
The other issue I was having was I had left too much extra hanging across the top of the table and correspondingly
along the sides, so rather than do a bunch of seam ripping to get the panel out, I just cut the panel off and several inches of extra so that the corners would hang at a more appropriate spot.  Repeat all the cutting and sewing on the window, sewing the half finished tent to the second panel and then doing a seam along the entire bottom and this was the result.
I'm still undecided if I'm going to add flowers and curtains and those cutsey details with more material or if I will just get a pack of fabric markers and let M&M go at it.  I promise an update when we decide!
Fun project for Momma that Emma's been very possessive of!  Once we can get the sharing idea sunk into those two heads it should provide hours of fun and a quick cleanup.  (Much quicker than blankets that refuse to stay in place anyways.)