Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Page Treat Bags Tutorial

This week is going to be a crazy week for us here! We are ripping out the yard {the fence has already been taken down}, building a new fence, building garden boxes, and planting a garden. Next week the hubbs will be laying new sod. I am so excited to see how it all turns out, and to have a fun new yard for Ella.The painting of the exterior of the house is finished and I will be sharing pictures of that with you later this week. I hope you don't mind a little exterior overkill... but, hey, that is what I am up to this week!

In case you missed it a couple of weeks ago when I guest posted over at Creative Home Expressions, I wanted to share with you how I make little treat bags for parties. This is a perfect little project for all of the summer parties and weddings, and they are so quick and easy to make!

First, gather some old book pages. Try to find some that are fairly sturdy. For mine, I used pages out of a vintage German dictionary I had on hand. 

Next, fold your pages in half. 

And then use your sewing machine to sew the edges. I used the outside of my presser foot for a guide. {please excuse my un-manicured fingers. I have been working in the yard :)}

Then fill with your treats. I used some clearance Easter candy I had on hand. 
Super easy!

I think they add a lot of charm, don't you?
 I also made some similar ones out of disposable placemats {here} to hold chips for my little one's shabby chic garden birthday party. They were super easy and fun.

What is your favorite thing to make or decorate with for parties?

Linking to French Country Cottage

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Four Very Very Favorite Paint Colors

Hello friends! 

I have shared a few of my favorite paint colors in the past in different posts, and I thought I would put them all in one place for you. There aren't a ton of them listed here because these are my VERY favorite and I use them A LOT! 

1. Cake Batter from Lowes. Most of the furniture in my house is painted this color. It is the perfect creamy off white. If I had to pick one single favorite color, this would be it. 
seen: here, here, here, here, here

2. My favorite chalkboard paint is from Valspar and you can purchase it at Lowes . I am sorry that I don't have a picture for you, but it comes in a can and you use a brush to apply. I have tried quite a few different kinds, including the spray on versions. This is my favorite chalkboard paint by far. It has such a pretty finish. And it is really nice and durable. You can see my post on painting and maintaining your chalkboards {here}. 
seen: here, here

3. If I ever want to use a spray paint that is almost a dead match for the cake batter above, I use Heirloom White by Rustoleum. It is wonderful! (Rustoleum is my favorite spray paint and I always use the comfort grip spray paint tool by Rustoleum as well~ I bought my tool at Lowes. It makes your spray paint have the most wonderfully even coverage}
seen: here.

4. Satin Red Heritage Spray Paint by Rustoleum is my favorite red. It is such a perfectly deep and pretty red. It is not quite as bright as it looks in the picture above. It goes really well with my vintage red decor pieces. Here is the tag at Lowes. 
seen here, and here

After much trial and error with different colors over the last 10 years of refinishing furniture, these are the colors that I always use. They are just really lovely shades {and I am pretty picky when it comes to my paint colors}. I do love to add greens and butterscotch colors too, but I can't really say I have picked my very favorites of those yet. As soon as I do, I will definitely let you know. 

I hope this helps! If you paint something, I would love to see a picture! 

P.S. There is a really great brown color in this post {here} that you may like as well. It is a really pretty slate brown color. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quick, Easy DIY Fix for a Badly Broken Exterior Door

Don't let his cuteness fool you. When our mischievous little furry boy was a pup, he chewed the moldings off around the window of our back door. Over years, it has deteriorated further and further and it was time to change it out. I went to Lowes and found out it would cost just under $300 to replace the door. As I talked to guy at Lowes, he told me that I didn't need to replace the whole door at all! He told me that I could buy just the insert that comes with the moldings and the window for under $92! Sweet! 

This is why I shop at Lowes all.the.time! {They are not paying me to say this... I really am a Lowe's super fan} Can I just say that I LOVE that they have the integrity to tell me the best way to fix it and not the way they would make the most money!

I forgot to get a good before picture, but you can see the old insert laying up against the wall. 

Here is a close up of my hunky husband installing the new insert. It was so user friendly. The molding on the inside screwed into the molding on the outside with the glass in between. 

Here was his lovely assistant. 

He literally finished installing it in under 20 minutes. It also came with plugs to cover the screw holes. 

The outside of the door will get a fresh coat of paint this week. You can see a sneak peek of the colors I picked for the exterior of our home in the pictures above. I will share pictures of the whole house after it is all completed! 

Working on the outside of the house is making me really excited to make my garden boxes and build my patio table! I will definitely be sharing lots of pictures of the process with you.  First things first though. We are replacing the back fence, regrading the yard, and laying sod.... All in the next two weeks! Our yard is so pitiful right now {I took lots of before pictures} and I am SO excited to have a beautiful outdoor space! 

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Vintagey Bag~ and Questions for YOU!

Hello friends! I am back! 
I feel like I have been running a million miles an hour lately, and it all concluded with my trip to the SNAP! blogging conference over the weekend. Holy cow, I feel like I learned so much. 

Before I left, I had to get a bunch of stuff together and I wanted to do up a little bloggy bag for myself too. If you want to make one, it is super easy. First, I used a permanent fabric dye pen to write on my bag. 

Then I embellished my bag with my stash of vintage trims and ribbons. I also tied a gorgeous old tatted hankie with the trims. 

Easy, right? 

So, ever since I returned from SNAP! my mind has been going and going and I was hoping to ask you some questions! For the most part, this is just my little creative journal and I blog about whatever I am working on at the time. But, I would LOVE to hear from you what you like to read the most. 

Here are my questions for you:

What kinds of posts are your favorites? 
(Ie. DIY, recipes, personal, seasonal decor, home decor, etc.)

What do you, or hope to, take away from reading my blog?

You can just leave your answers in the comments. 

Thank you in advance!! You guys are the best! 

P.S. I guest posted about my little easy party favor bags over at Creative Home Expressions. They are fun to make, so I hope you will go over for a visit!

Thanks again for answering my questions!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Make the BEST Asparagus in Under 10 Minutes!

This is a really big, fun post today! Not only am I sharing one of my favorite and most asked for recipes, but a bunch of other bloggers are sharing theirs as well in a great big Springtime Blog Progressive Dinner.

For any of you visiting from some of the other blogs in the progressive dinner, Welcome! Aren't you so excited to get your hands on all of those gorgeous recipes? I know I am!

I am excited to share one of my very favorite {and easiest} recipes with you today. I have tweaked it and played with it over the years, and this is now our favorite asparagus. I get asked for the recipe all of the time whenever I make it for my friends and family and I always have to laugh because it is ridiculously quick and easy...

You will need:

1 lb. Asparagus, washed
1 Cup Water
1/2 to 1 Tbs. Butter
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbs. Grated Parmesan Cheese
A Handful of Shredded Parmesan Cheese

First, chop the woody bottoms off of your Asparagus.

Put asparagus in a pan wide enough to hold them without bending their heads. They can overlap each other if they need to. Add 1 cup of water and place on high heat on the stove.

Cook, covered, on high for 4-6 minutes, depending on the thickness, until asparagus is tender, yet still nice and firm. Carefully shake your spears back and forth halfway through your cook time. You will have all kinds of steam whistling out of the lid. That's ok! When your Asparagus is finished cooking, discard remaining liquid. (you will be sauteing the asparagus a bit more in the next step, so in this step, err on the side of under cooking it so you don't end up with mushy asparagus)

Place butter, garlic salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan over your spears, and begin to saute them over medium high heat until butter is melted and the Parmesan begins to get gooey and lightly browned, but not burned. Some will crust on the pan and you can scrape it off. Trust me, that is the good stuff.

Remove from heat and place on a pretty plate. Sprinkle with a handful of shredded Parmesan.


You can visit all of the other girls in this progressive dinner to snag their recipes here:

(doesn't this make you hungry!?)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Homemade Single-Serve Microwave Macaroni and Cheese in a Mug!

I had hoped to share a couple of projects with you, but this week had kind of gotten away from me! Does that ever happen to you, too? Instead, I have one of my favorite recipes to share with you today~ Homemade Single-Serve Microwave Macaroni and Cheese. Not only is this creamy and delicious, but it is SO much healthier than the store bought kind! I love that I can give Ella mac & cheese without the chemicals from the boxed kind. And, yet it is just as quick and easy to make! 

Several months ago, I had seen a couple of recipes for this and I tried all of them. I wasn't pleased with any of them, so I made up my own recipe. It is seriously SO creamy and good! And, trust me... it is super easy!

You will need:

A large mug or bowl (I use a big soup mug)
Whole grain elbow macaroni
Cheddar-Jack  Shredded Cheese
Splash of milk

**I have tried several different types of pasta/cheese combinations, and this my favorite by far. It is so creamy,yet the pasta is still nice and firm. Please note: if you use different ingredients, your results may be a bit different. For example, white pasta usually takes a little less time to cook. Just keep an eye on it, and you will be fine!** 

In a microwave safe {big} mug or bowl (make sure it is a big one or it will boil over), put 1/3 cup whole grain elbow macaroni and 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup water (If you have a stronger microwave than mine, you may need more water... just play with it adding a couple extra Tbs at a time). Microwave for 6 minutes, stirring at 4 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute. 

(Microwave times may vary depending on the strength of your microwave. Mine is fairly average I think. You may want to check it at the 1 min interval to make sure it hasn't dried up if you have a stronger microwave~ stronger microwaves will need a bit more water) 

The pasta should be cooked and there will be a tiny bit of thick pasta water in the bottom. Leave this water. 

Add a heaping 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese (pictured above). Return to the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds to melt the cheese. 

Stir well, adding a small splash of milk (maybe 2 teaspoons).


Be sure to come back tomorrow for our Springtime Blog Progressive Dinner with all of our favorite spring recipes! There will also be a HUGE giveaway!

You may also like: 
How to Wash and Cut Burlap
Chalkboard Drawing Tutorial
Painted Sign Tutorial

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Hello everyone!
I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. It was so beautiful outside for us that we spent a lot of time outdoors. We loved it! 

I would like to thank those of you who have left comments on my Thoughts on Real Life Decorating blog post. They were so thoughtful. I am working on responding to them, so you should hear from me soon :).

The outside of our house needs to be painted. Badly. 
But it is a huge commitment, and one that I have had some anxiety about. My fear is that I will pick a color and it will look one way on the swatch and look pink, or purple, or whatever on the wall! It is so hard to pick a good color and I have dragged my poor hubby all over town looking at homes. Yes, he is the BEST. 

We decided that we wanted Slate Taupe color with a crisp white trim. 2 trips to the paint store and 12 sample pots later, and I was still not loving any of the colors. : ( Oh, and my house now has stripes of all of the different colors on both the front and side walls. Oops. 

Did I mention my husband is the MOST patient person I know?

(That is my address blurred out in case you were wondering)

And after all of that, there was still nothing I was really excited about. Ugh. So, I hit the road again and went through a neighborhood I hadn't driven through yet. And, there it was... the perfect color!! A beautiful slate taupe-y color with a cream trim. I was SO excited! 

Now this is another reason why Idaho is the best place in the world. I knocked on the door to ask what color it was and I met the sweetest woman! Not only did she get me the paint can in her garage, but she let me (a complete stranger) borrow it from her so I could go get it matched! 

So, that is what I will be up to tomorrow and I am so excited to get the house painted now! Of course I will share pictures when it is all finished!

Out of curiosity, what is your favorite color combination for a home exterior?

Here are a few pics of our Easter. 

I actually just put cereal and fishy crackers in the eggs, but she LOVED finding her little treats, and dumped them straight into her little mouth! 


I hope you are having a great week so far!