Monday, September 30, 2013

Roasted Vegetables with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

This past weekend I visited my parents and did a lot of cooking with my mom, which was wonderful and practically perfect in everyway. We had so much fun! (I wish the weekend was longer, you know?! Mondays! (Did that sound like a relatable problem? I’m trying to be relatable.  Is it working?)

For lunch on Saturday Mom roasted a bunch of delicious veggies and I made vinaigrette to toss them in. It was pretty delicious, and eating lunch on the screened in porch with hints of fall in the air only made it taste even better.  Since people are frequently chastising us about not using measured amounts and never writing down our original recipes, I recreated our meal tonight at my own home and paid attention to what I did and (Gasp!) wrote it down. This might just be my new favorite fall meal. It’s beautiful, it’s delightfully healthy, it’s warm, and it’s delicious.  

Roasted Vegetables with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4 

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
3 beets, peeled and chopped
3 red potatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bunches of kale, torn into big bite sized pieces
A drizzle of olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Chop all the vegetables, except the kale, into roughly 1 x 1 inch pieces and toss them in a bowl with a little drizzle of olive oil.  Tear the kale, toss it with just a bit of oil as well and set it aside in a bowl.  Put the chopped veggies in big roasting pan or a cookie sheet if you have one big enough. Roast them for about 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, put the kale on top and keep cooking for about 5 more minutes but keep an eye on that kale- you don’t want it to burn and it should still be a pretty bright green. You just sort of want to wilt it a bit and soften it up. While your veggies are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up until it’s nice and mixed.  Once the veggies are done, pull them out and put them in a big bowl.  Add the vinaigrette and toss everything around until the dressing is evenly distributed.  Serve right away so it’s still warm!  I like serve a bit of toasted bread with goat cheese on it on the side.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fit to be Tied (Bow tie DIY !)

My most dedicated readers (most likely my roommates/close friends/cousins/mother) will recall how I have lamented (regrettably, in video format, and on this very blog) how difficult it is to sew/craft things for gentlemen. Well, now I’ve at least got one more thing I can make for the fashion-forward gentleman, thanks to my friend Josh who a few weeks ago said “Can we make a bow tie this weekend?”  YES. YES WE CAN. Oh, I’m sorry was that caps lock? I just get so excited when people want to be crafty.

I used the pattern from this website and it worked pretty well.  After I made the blue bow tie per Josh’s request I was on a sewing kick, you know? Once I start I'd better just ride it out and see how much I get done (plus I was on break that week so I had some TIME! (not the magazine. and yes I am using parentheses inside parentheses. I do enough formal writing elsewhere)).   I had some pink gingham in my fabric stash and I thought that would make an awfully nice looking bow tie so I whipped that one up pretty fast….and then I made two more (navy with white polka dots) for my Dad and brother, but I don’t have any pictures of them in theirs yet because I haven’t been able to get them to try them on yet…. so I can’t sew the final two pieces together. My brother says he’s excited to wear it though, which coming from my brother means a lot because I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say anything like “excited” in a sentence about clothes. Growing up he usually just said "stop trying to tell me what to wear!" Bless you, Carter, for putting up with my many suggestions...and for following them that one time I got you those shirts from Old Navy in high school...and a million points to me for picking out that windbreaker you wear all the time. Just kidding....but I digress. 

For the first bow tie I followed the instructions exactly, but for the second one I went off-book because the first bow tie was kind of stiff and when I clipped close to the seams it ended up with some funny thready spots that I had to fix (and then they bothered me A LOT (Sorry Josh)).  For the second tie (the pink one), I only used interfacing on one side of the tie, not both.  That way it was a little less stiff, and I think it turned out better. I also didn’t clip the excess at all; ¼ seam allowance is pretty small to begin with.  

pin it, cut it out

fusible interfacing, which I usually hate because it itches but in this situation it is all covered up so it can't

Turn it right side out!

Honestly, the hardest part was turning them right-side-out.  I could have made them so much faster if it weren’t for that part. Be patient or you might poke through a seam or nick your fabric if you use tweezers or something to pull it out.  Make sure to poke the corners with a chopstick so they look nice and sharp.

So there. A not girly sewing project.

"Hello, my name is Josh. Ask me about my bowtie"

I had this normal picture of this bowtie and Josh but then I was like "How about that one with your adorable nephew instead?"

I mean, come on.  Way to be an uncle.

Wait...Josh...where are you in this picture?


I was still sewing along happily when I remembered I’m about to be an Aunt (again!). Yep, my little nephew Joseph is supposed to arrive sometime in June.  Of course I had to make him something too, right?  Ta-da! Onesie with a tie appliqué ! I should make him a bow tie one too.
awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww can't wait to meet you little nephew

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Anthro Inspired Farmhouse Table

Spoiler! This is what it looks like finished.

Before I moved into my new place I decided it was time to invest in a table.  It wasn't exactly essential; my roommate had one we were using that was in perfectly good repair and impossibly comfortable (If you've never known the comfort and ease of an upholstered rolling chair from the early 80's I am sorry).  I just wanted to, you know? I had a bit of money saved up, so I started looking...

...and what I found out is that I have expensive taste. In tables, at least. I wanted one of those rustic farmhouse-esque  tables, which despite their shabby chic appearance can actually be quite pricey (we live in a weird world). I found the perfect thing on the Anthropologie website (Anthro fans know what's coming). Now, I know it is tacky to talk about money a whole bunch but I'm going to suspend my Emily Post sensibilities for a while because this needs to happen. Unfortunately, the Anthro farmhouse table costs about 2,000 dollars which was ever so many more dollars that I was ready/willing/able to spend. (Side note: I own 2 things from Anthro; they are both mugs and someone else bought them for me and I love them (in the way that one loves mugs))

I resigned myself to not having a cool farmhouse table and started looking at tables I could actually afford, all of which were pretty okay (more "okay" than "pretty"). Then, one day over the summer I was hanging out on Pinterest after a particularly demanding day and I spotted THIS.  Did you click on it? Did  you SEEwhat that is?! It's plans to build the table from Anthro for..*gasp*  $65.00!  I know, I know.  It isn't fancy wood.  It also isn't $2,000! (Did I mention I'm a perpetual grad student? You mostly know our deal, right? Yeah. PINE IS FINE.) 

I'm getting there. I read over the instructions and thought "Hey, I could do this. I mean, my Dad could do this...and I could help." I hastened (I really did) to the phone to call him.

"Hey Dad, you know how I wanted that cool table and it was so expensive and I thought I could never ever have anything like it well I found instructions on the internet and I thought maybe we could build one and I know you're super busy but you always say woodworking relaxes you and I thought maybe you could help me do this pretty please but really do say no if you can't I understand" said I, in the world's greatest run on sentence. 

"Send me an email with the link and I will look at it" said my father.  This is my father's response to most things of this nature. He did look at it, and called back later to say "Yes!" Actually, what he said was "Yes, but we can't do it right away so you'll have to wait if you really want it" and I said "you mean like till August?" (It was June) and he just laughed and said "Probably later than that, baby." 

Fast forward to December:
I came home for Christmas and Dad said "Let's do this" and I literally jumped from excitement.  We went to Home Depot and I walked out with a whole bunch of lumber and a receipt that said $76.50 (okay, more than $65.00 but still well within my range of acceptable spending for this project).  I won't go through every stepsince the folks I got the instructions from have already done that, but here are some pictures from our "build" (I feel like I'm on Trading Spaces! Or  Extreme Makeover Home Edition! I had a "build"!) I would say the whole thing took us about 5 days but we really only worked on it in the evenings.
Master Carpenter and Sassafras Apprentice

This isn't the end- at this point the table was still unfinished- no stain, and no distressing. I was going to make this two posts since it is already oppressively long, but I changed my mind.

Once the table was constructed, my Dad brought it from my parent’s house to my house and we moved it into the garage with some assistance from a kind neighbor.  Then, my mother and I set to whacking it with chains of varying sizes, hammers, crowbars and the like. This, you see, is what makes it look old and more farmhousey.  In fact, the other day some one asked me “where I found the reclaimed wood “ for my table so SCORE! It worked.  I tricked you all! 

Once the distressing was done, my dad sanded the top for me one last time and they headed out, leaving me with a mammoth of a table in the garage to work on.  I stained it “Dark Walnut”. This took a long time, and it was pretty cold in the garage.  Luckily my friend Kathryn came over and sat on the washing machine straightening her hair while I did this, so I had someone to talk to. THANKS GIRL!  I did get some wood stain in my hair, which was pretty gross. Once the staining was done, I applied the polyurethane.  1 coat everywhere and 3 on the tabletop itself.  I used a satin finish.  After that, the table itself was done! Can you believe it?

However, it was still in the garage, weighing a ton.  No way I was moving that fellbeast by myself.  My Dad said he’d come up later to help me, so I set to work on the chairs.  I collected a variety of ladderback chairs from antique shops and then painted them red.  I think they look pretty cool, in a funky mismatched kind of way.  

If you’re still reading, you’ll notice that EVERYTHING was really done at this point, except the table was in the garage. It was kind of killing me, because I had this awesome table I could be using, but it was in the garage, ever fixed and immovable by my own strength.  Then the other day I had some pals over to play some music (ukulele, guitar, keyboard, shaker, mandolin- we were getting pretty good haha) and when we stopped for a break I was just like “Hey pals, want to help me move my table pretty please?” and because they are all so very awesome they immediately agreed.  Thanks Aimee, Erin, Tamara, and Josh!  After trying to get it in one door and failing, we tried the other door and got it in. Much moving of furniture was required, these folks were really good sports.

So there! It’s done!  I’m so glad to have a place for all my wonderful friends and family to gather around.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DIY Hula Hoop Circus Tent

It’s been a while, blog friends. I guess I was….doing other things like you do other things (If anyone can correctly identify that song lyric reference I will virtually high five you if you are an internet stranger and actually high five you if you are a person I know)

Let it be known here and now that I understand I am one of the worst craft/inspiration bloggers around. My pictures are almost always from my phone, I rarely detail the steps necessary to complete the project, and I usually spiral off into other subjects.  That said, at least a few people read this and I enjoy the opportunity to write things other than research papers so I'm going to keep doing it.

I made this sweet tent for my niece this Christmas and she seemed to really like it! I was inspired by a few things I saw on pinterest- like THIS and THIS. I decided I wanted K’s to be more circus-y, which is why I added the pennants. Anyway, let me attempt to sort of tell you what I did in case you’re really interested.
Instagram here often?

 The tent itself is made of 2 twin flat sheets (striped to get that circus-y look, or course). I cut one sheet in half and added an extra panel from the other sheet to make it big enough, taking care to keep the hems straight so the stripes were not messed up.  The frame is just a hula-hoop; I got the biggest one I could find for maximum tent fun.  I sewed a flap of fabric all around the circumference of the tent, with velcro on 2 sides to make a sort of long, cylindrical pouch to hold the hoop.  This way, the tent fabric can be removed and washed, which is a big deal for toddler things (or so I am told). The top part is gathered with a “ribbon” sort of deal also made of the striped fabric. The pennants I made out of felt and hand-sewed on (which took forever so I just did it whenever I was watching TV)……those instructions are pretty clear, right? I’m sorry. I promise I’ll do better someday. Maybe. I have many hobbies…and a job…and I’m a career student. Oh! And friends. I have friends. Very important. Very time consuming.

Anyway, the tent seemed to be a big hit with K.  At first she was a bit terrified of it but she warmed up to it and then she just couldn’t get enough of running in and out of it. I gave my brother the necessary hardware to hang it from the ceiling, but you could hang it from a tree outside or something else too. (I got the hook for the ceiling at Lowe's, the one store where I always say "yes, please" when the sales people ask if I need help) Since it is pretty big, hopefully she can enjoy it for years to come.  Then, when she’s probably about 10 or so she’ll think it is super lame all of the sudden but that is totally okay.
Oh hey cutie! 


Remember the cool reverse applique blanket I made for K the Christmas before she was born?  (why would you?) Check it out HERE. (I actually made one of these for my soon-to-arrive new niece or nephew but I forgot to take pictures, sad!)

Until next time,

PS- Get ready for the craft of all crafts. It's coming. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fun Flower Wall Art

This one has been floating around pinterest for a while now as well.  I’ve seen it done with both fabric and scrapbook paper; I chose scrapbook paper to avoid frayed edges.
It was a lot of fun to do, and pretty simple.  Those of you who are familiar with my freehand painting will understand why this was a good art project for me J.  (Remember my weird bird from art night?) 

Acrylic paint
Scrapbook paper, cut into petals of various sizes
Mod Podge
Paint brushes

Oh! The mantle.  I almost forgot.  Those three candle holders on the left were all thrift store finds- I just cleaned them up a little and sprayed painted them the colors I wanted.   
A little blurry...I should probably stop using my phone and use my actual camera.

Yikes. Even more blurry....but this way you get the whole wall-area.  More than that table later :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cookie Sheet Magnet Boards

I’m pleased to report that the new home beautification project is going along swimmingly.  The kitchen was already a light blue/turquoise color, which was fine with me because A) I don’t have the time/money to repaint EVERY room right away and B) I actually wanted a blue/turquoise and red kitchen anyway.  I saw this pin on pinterest a few months ago and made my own version last week. (The button magnets were my only original addition)

Cookie Sheets from the dollar store
Spray Paint
3M Command Strips for hanging
Small, round magnets with adhesive backs

I won’t bore you with the details; I think you can pretty much tell from the pictures how it is done.  I really like the splash of red in the kitchen!  It was the perfect addition.  I can’t wait to get the dining room table built (did I tell you I’m going to make my own dining room table?.....with some help from my Dad!) and I can throw fun dinner parties for all my lovely friends.
My KitchenAid is one of my most prized possessions. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

DIY Kitchen Mat Tutorial

DIY Kitchen Floor Mat

I haven’t even moved into my new house yet but I’m already working on some fun things to put inside it...despite my internship monopolizing my daylight hours : ) I’ve seen a few tutorials online for floor mats and I have cobbled together some of things I’ve seen along with some ideas of my own to make this adorable little mat!  I wanted something to go in front of the sink, but this would make a great doormat too. This mat has several things going for it: 1. You can use almost any patterned fabric you want. 2. It’s lightweight but sturdy 3. You can wipe it clean 4. It’s fairly inexpensive.

2 vinyl flooring squares (I think they are 12”x12”) – mine had adhesive on the back
Duct Tape
1 yd fabric (Mine was a duck cloth type)
Note: I would avoid solids and light colors as the polyurethane will change the color slightly.  Apparently this can be avoided by using water-based polyurethane…but I’ve never tried water-based polyurethane)
Paint brush

Step 1:
Use the duct tape to connect your two squares of vinyl flooring. If your tiles are adhesive on the back like mine were, peel back the adhesive a little before taping.  Tape on both sides to make sure it is secure.  Wrap the tape around the edges. Make sure to make it as smooth as you can.  I’ve seen other bloggers use vinyl flooring remnants at cut it to the size they want.  However, I did not have a remnant handy, and the ones at the store were so big they would have been too expensive (also, what would I have done with all the extra?!)  By using the squares, I had less waste, they were the perfect shape, and they were only about 6 dollars total!
Two Vinyl Squares (look at that lovely faux stone finish :)

Step 2:
Peel the paper backing off completely. If your vinyl doesn’t have the adhesive back, use spray adhesive.  I used both because I really wanted the fabric to stick and I didn’t fully trust the adhesive backing.  Place the fabric right side up (wrong side goes down on the sticky stuff).  Smooth it out and don’t leave any wrinkles!
Yep; That is my hand shadow.

Step 3:
Before you wrap the fabric around the corners, apply one coat of polyurethane.  This way the edges get some of the treatment before you wrap the fabric around.

Step 4:
Once the first coat has dried, flip the mat over.  Cut off excess fabric (leave about 3 inches all around).  Pull the fabric tight; fold the edges over and use duct tape to secure them.  It doesn’t matter that it looks ugly because this is the bottom part.  Fold the corners like you’re wrapping a present.

Step 5:
Flip it back over and give it another coat of polyurethane. Let it dry.  Repeat this process until you’ve done 7-8 coats of polyurethane. At first the mat will feel rough but as you get to the last coats it will feel smoother- this is what makes it waterproof and wipeable. This isn’t exactly a fast project because you have to wait for the polyurethane to dry- I did a coat every day or so (or 2 on a Saturday, how exciting!)

Step 6:
Enjoy your fantastic new kitchen mat!

Did I mention the floors? This house has no carpet.  It's THE BEST!!!

Welcome Home!

Special thanks to my awesome Mom for helping out with the first few steps!