Happy Halloween!

Hello all my halloween ghouls and goblins! I hope you are all excited for some trick-or-treating and costume gawking tonight! I know I am, well not the trick-or-treating part, but I always find Halloween people watching to be quite enjoyable! But enough about tonight, I thought today it was only fitting to show you guys pictures of our weekend of Halloween festivities, and our fun costumes. We probably could have gone as a photo booth with all the props we had on sticks for the parties, but ya know, you gotta do what you gotta do. I spent all week working on my Honey Boo Boo get up, because I was determined for people to know exactly who I was and to look as much like dearest Honey Boo Boo as possible. So I decided to rhinestone my whole costume, and make a giant crown, like the ones they win on toddlers and tiaras, and then of course I needed a sash to complete my look, and help all the fools out, who couldn’t figure out my costume without a little help. As for David he grabbed what he could at the store and then threw together the rest of his props for Yukon Cornelius in about 20 minutes. But I have to say it turned out pretty well!!

 

So, after some hard work and a lot of gluing, and frustrated mutters, I was finally ready for halloween, oh and then there was the extended battle with my curling iron while I was getting ready, sometimes my hair just really doesn’t cooperate, but ready or not…. HERE COMES HONEY BOO BOO!

 

 

and, I somehow managed to not caputre a solo shot of david, or I think we have one on his ipad but it never made it to my email so, here is a picture of us together, and my aunt has the one of him with his mustache, I know I know, I am really letting you guys down, but I tried!

 

That blur is David, being a child, and waving around his toy gun, which BY THE WAY, belonged to our friend Rob, and it was his dad’s from the 1960’s as he reminded us every time someone touched it. Since I didnt bring you guys a picture of David’s complete look, I thought I’d make it up to you by sharing a pic of David’s friend Rob, who dressed like Robo Cop but made his WHOLE costume from beer boxes. AWESOME!

 

I wish I had the shoes, they were made of the boxes too, but he could walk in them, apparently he worked on his costume for like a month, soooo he wins. Although, I did appreciate he and Katniss, and their love of my crown! Lots of cross dressing going on here…..

 

Soeaking of cross dressing Saturday night we went to a party at my aunts and a guy dressed like a lady and I dont mean in drag, he just wore a suffed bra and a floral print halter dress, a wig, and some fancy sandals. He was quite the hit. Also apparently pigs in the blanket was a popular costume this year because there was one at each party we went to. Also, lots of witches, and couples costumes (bleh). So, all in all it was an enojyable weekend and we got some good use out of our halloween costumes! If you ever need to look like Honey Boo Boo, let me know! I cant hook ya up! Also, I think we are going to save all our stick props for the photo booth at our wedding so we have less to make! Multipurpose! Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween! See ya in Novemeber!

Lean Mean Wreath-making Machine

Ok, I might not be lean and mean, but lately I feel like I have been a wreath making machine. I did the one for Laura and Kyle for their wedding, and I just finished up the one for todays post, and plan to make some kind of christmas wreath by the beginning of December so I can put it up with all my christmas decor. I didnt want to deprive you of a craft project, so you will just have learn about lots of different wreaths over the next month! I finally decided it was time to retire this one that I made for my front door for the summer months, since the weather is starting the change and so are the in colors. This wreath I made is more for winter, I used grey and plum, but I really like it. Next year I might do an actual fall wreath, but every time I tried to work on one I wasnt overly inspired, so I just skipped right over fall to winter! Here is what the base of the wreath looks like so you kind of have an idea where this is headed.

To get this project completed you will need AT LEAST 3 yards of fabric. I emphasize this because I ran out of fabric twice. So, better to be prepared than not. the first time I got 1.5 yards, ran out went back got another yard, ran out annnnd use scraps to cover the last 3 inches of wreath form left empty and the covered that part with the ribbon at the top. So, to avoid the improvisation, go ahead and have all 3 yards up front. You will also need to make sure you have a Styrofoam wreath form, Then you want to make sure that you have a marker, some kind of round thing to trace, I used the top of a plastic stadium cup, and scissors, and a lot of mindless TV to watch while you cut. I also used one roll of ribbon, some straight pins, between 200 and 300, and then some already made accents from hobby lobby, I have been loving these lately!

The first step is to trace and cut all the circles you will be using to make the texture on the wreath form. this takes lots of time and patience, like I said, watch lots of mindless TV while doing this, you will have the time! And make sure to trace the circles as close together as possible so that you can get the most out of your fabric, because I guarantee you will find a way to use all of them. If not, you’re smarter than I am, OR you aren’t filling in all the holes.

 

 

Then after you get all the circles cut you need to attach them to the wreath form. You will fold the circles in half on them selves twice, then attach a straight pin, the put some hot glue on the tip of the straight pin and attach it to the styrofoam.

 

After several hours, you will have this, which is what mine looked like when I ran out of fabric the FIRST time. My friend Katy calls this the little old lady phase, because it looks like a grandmas curly hair. hahah!

 

Then I got more fabric, finished filling it in, and then added the extra touches, like a few flowers, and a ribbon to hang it on the door and a little bow on the front, because I love frillys and bows! And this is the final product!

Movement Mondays – Dancing in the Dark

First of all, I love this song by Ben Howard and Yael Namin. Its right up my ally! Everything I love slow, good tempo and lots of little intricate beats to choreograph too, and this choreography is awesome! I love the partnering and the distinction between the soft fluid movements and the fast hard movements. I also love this nonchallant feeling you get at the beginning of the dance, like the just don’t care. So great. This piece was choreographed and performed by Matt Luck and Emma Porter. Happy Movement Mondays, and enjoooooy, dance lovers!

 

The 12 Crafts of Christmas: Card Tree

If your house is anything like mine, at Christmas time your mailbox is overflowing with cards from loved ones… not so loved ones… and those people you know but haven’t talked to in years, but they still have your address so you still get a card. At least thats the way I think things worked with my parents Christmas cards while I was living at home. I always wondered what the point was, I guess its a great way to show how your family has changed or grown over the year on the senders end, but on the receiving end I was always thinking “well, what are we going to do with these, we can’t… throw them away, what if the senders come over?” So we always kept them neatly displayed in a basket on the hearth. But, I thought there had to be a better way to display them, I mean people do go to all the trouble of making them and sending them out, etc etc. So I decided I would make a little tree that I could attach all my cards to! I mean I dont really plan on having an abundant amount of christmas cards sent to my address, so I may gift this to someone else who might find it more useful or just hang it up to add some more Christmas PIZZAZ to my place,we’ll see how Im feeling come black friday (aka the day the decorations come out!)

So, let me give you kind of a sneak peak as to WHAT were making so the tutorial makes a little more sense as I am walking you through it, but all in all, this project took me like an hour to complete, and part of that was spent popping dinner in the oven, watching Long Island Medium, and a few trial and error situations before deciding on a final design, so probably not even an hour!

All you need is 3- 3 yard packs of wire from Michaels I used kind of a copper color, but they had silver, some pinkish color, whatever you want. And I used 16 gauge because I wanted something a little more hefty but still pliable. Also, please note that the shape matches my christmas trees on the stockings I made for David and I, this is on purpose, I love coordination! Also, pat me on the back, one of my cheapest craft projects yet, I spent no more than $10 for everything for this project!

So, start with the center “trunk” I guess is the best way to describe it. I didn’t discover my twisting technique until later, but you’ll want to use it on the center too, because it makes the wire less likely to bend while you’re working with it. So, what you’ll want to do is decide on the height you want your tree to be. I jsut kind of eyeballed it, but if you have somewhere you want it to hang, etc make sure its not too long or too short. Then pull the length of wire out that you need and double it up.

Then, grab the looped in and start to twist the wires around them selves, like your winding something up, at first it will be really loose…

Then keep twisting so that the loop on the end gets smaller, I kept pulling mine to make it more oblong so I could get extra slack for more twisting, like I said, the more twist you get, the stronger the branches and trunk will be. So, eventually you will get something that looks like this! (ps. sorry for the weird backgrounds, its on a pile of posterboard for another project… because the wire was only one shade lighter than the carpet so you couldn’t really see the pics)

I would recommend twisting another length of wire on the trunk to make it a triple strength, because everything rests on this and wraps around it. Then, I doubled up a little of the wire on the top to make a loop, this is to use to hang the tree and to tie the bow on top of! Then I wrapped the wire around itself on the loop to keep it from pulling loose. To make the branches I started at the top of the tree, with the shortest ones.

What you want to do is double the wire and twist it to get it the right length on one side, then wrap the wire around the base a time or two and repeat the process with the same length for the other side. Then you want to wind the wire down the base of the tree to get to the next level, making the branches a little longer. Repeat this process until you finish your tree.

To make the base, I did a few shorter “branches” down at the bottom and them rolled them up on top of each other and wrapped the rest of the wire around it. Its not….the prettiest thing, but it gets the look across, “I am the tree stand”

Then I added a bow, and attached some notes, for show and tell. Sorry about the ugly binder clips, I am on the hunt for some tiny clothes pins, which I might attach bows or little beads to so they look like ornaments on the tree, even without letters attached to it, but again, I figured this got the point across. Once I find the right clips I will be sure to inform you all!

So, I hope I have solved your Christmas card dilemma! Like I said, this is super easy, super cheap, and a great way to get those cards off your end table or your fridge and use them to spruce up your home for the holidays! Happy Crafting!!

Barefoot Contessa Shrimp Bisque

When Im craving the flavors of New England, or scouring the web for that perfect clam chowder recipe, I always find myself turning to the same person, the proclaimed queen of New England cuisine, Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. My dad goes shrimping in the fall, so I always seem to find myself in a situation to get rid of some shrimp, which on occasion is a great luxury, but sometimes, I think there are only some many things you can throw shrimp on top of before you’re over it. So I thought I would try something new. Since the weather has been cooling off I thought some kind of seafood bisque or chowder would be the perfect way to get rid of some of that extra shrimp I have in my freezer, and I knew for a pretty cheap price I could make a huge pot of it and eat off of it for a few days! It was so delicious, and I think the longer it sat in my fridge the more flavorful it got, so when I had the last bit of it for dinner at the end of last week, since i had frozen some of it, it had that perfect seafood bisque taste! Definitely give this one a try if you are looking for something to change it up this fall or winter.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: 

Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned.

Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp.

Drain the shrimp shells and save the stock then add this to the large pot

Then add the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.

Upscale Upcycle

Today’s post comes to you all with a BIG thank you to my friend Morgan. She and I attended Clemson together where we both studied Graphics, and she is now living and working in Charleston, SC. You can check out her talents on her graphic design blog and see what else shes up to, she posts all of her freelance and design work here, so if your on the hunt for someone to do some freelance for you, she can definitely help you out! Now, onto the reason for the post, as most of you know, my home decor projects kind of came to a SCREECHING halt when I finished decorating my apartment after I moved in in April. This is PROBABLY why I was so ecstatic when Morgan posted her awesome upcycle on Facebook the other day! She recently completed a coffee table she made from old moving and shipping pallets. It looks great! I love the color, the proportions, the height, everything about it! So, I got her to write up a little tutorial so I could share it with you guys here. So, here is a sneak peak at Morgans awesome re-do and some tips on how to make this happen in your home! Happy DIY-ing!

Find two pallets that are in good condition, the ones I used were made of pine, and then sand the top piece of the table with a sander until it is smooth.


Stain the top part of the pallet and anywhere else that you think will show through after  sanding. I choose a dark wood color to really make the colors pop at the end of the project, and then stained the entire top piece and the sides of the bottom piece.

Now for the fun part… finding the legs for the table. I wanted my table to be completely up-cycled, and I found an old table someone left on the side of the road, and got the legs from that!


This next part of the project really requires two people, first take the legs off the old table and then bolt them to the pallet table, Pat helped me bolt the legs onto the pallet table, and it definitely required a lot of patience.

After the table is put together, you can pick out the paint colors you wish to use. If you stain the top of the pallet with oil based stain, the paint you use has to be oil based in order to adhere.  I went to Ace Hardware and picked out two colors. The first color, which is the base color, is casual white. The second color, which is painted on top of the casual white, is winners circle. Make sure you have some paint brushes that you can throw away. I purchased the cheap paint brushes because once you use them with oil based paint; the brushes cannot be used again

Now comes the fun part. Painting the table (Faster with two people.)! We gave the bottom pallet table two coats of casual white because I really wanted the white to stand out. Once dry, we painted the whole table winners circle, besides the inside drawer areas of the table. Then we brushed casual white in random places all over the top, sides, and legs of the table.

Next is one of the more tedious parts of the project, sanding (I would have two people sand to make it faster!). We used 120 grit sandpaper. The key to sanding is really getting the edges of the pallet and anywhere you think would make the piece look aged. Everywhere you use the casual white; you should sand that area to really give it the distressed look. All the corners of the legs should be sanded. Remember, you can always sand more, but it’s harder to go back…so sand a little, and then examine to see where you should sand more. This all depends on how distressed you want the piece to look. Lastly, wipe down the whole pallet table with a microfiber cloth. I dampened the cloth to really get it the dust off.


9. Now, here comes the tricky part, the Minwax Simi Gloss Polyurethane finish. Pat and I had to work as a team for this final step. We used a sponge brush and old rag. I stroked on the polyurethane finish and pat lightly used the rag to wipe some of the stain off. This process has to do with how aged you want the pallet table to look. We let the stain sit for about 30 seconds then wiped off some of the stain to let the blue-green color come through. If you are nervous about this part, maybe test it out on an area that will not show as much. Then see how you like it.


Finally, put the pallet table in your living room and show it off! Wow, hard work pays off! Enjoy!

Ok, don’t you guys just love this?! I think it turned out so perfect, and its great for a house in Charleston, it gives it that perfect southern beachy feel. Im so excited Morgan let me share this with you all! And don’t forget to check out her other creative side here!

 

Green Jacket Salad

This is probably one of my favorite salads. Maybe because it originated in my hometown, Augusta, GA, and I have been eating it my whole life, or maybe because it just tastes so light and refreshing, but I love that it doesn’t have some dense heavy dressing, its just light and refreshing. Its typically best in the summer, but David and I are finally seeing the results of his tomato plants from the spring, more on that later! So we have been trying to use them up before they go bad, and this was the perfect use, since you actually use mashed up tomatoes to make the dressing for the salad. I don’t think that David was as big a fan as I was, it is a pretty simple salad, but to each his own! So, if you’re looking for a fresh new salad to try, I highly recommend this one, even if David prefers the old school simple salad.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion, about 1 green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 12-ounce bags prepared Iceberg and Romaine salad
  • 1 pita bread, split in half, toasted and broken into bite-sized pieces
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional

Instructions

Quarter the tomato and then mush it up with a fork so that it looks like this

Then, combine vegetable oil, vinegar, tomato, seasoned salt, oregano, green onion and parsley into the bowl and mix.

Place salad greens in a large bowl with dressing. Toss well.

We made our own pita chips, so we bought pita pockets and sprinkled olive oil and salt on them and baked them on 350 for about 10 or 15 minutes, or until they are brown and crispy.

After they are are done, break them up into small pieces, to use as crouton-esque things in your salad, homemade is so much better than buying them at the store!

Sprinkle the top of the salad with parmesan cheese and serve!

Movement Mondays – Surrender

If you stalk the interwebs for awesome dance videos on a pretty regular basis like I do, then you probably know who this little girl is. Her name is Paulina Macias…. and she is a 12 year old BALLER! She dances better than most 20 year olds I know, and way better than I ever thought about being when I was 12. Its kind of unreal, actually. This is a dance she competed this season called surrender and choreographed by TOKYO, one of my faaaaves! So, of course, I had to share it with you. But, her control is amazing, she can just fly out of these awesome jump sequences and hit a tilt, its kind of unreal, just see for yourself. She is an amazing little dancer!

The 12 Crafts of Christmas: Stockings

Yes, I made my own Christmas stockings, AND I did it all without some kind of special kit! I thought it would be fun to have some cute little stockings for David and I to hang up that kind of matched what I had going on in my apartment (because lets be honest, David doesn’t even really decorate for Christmas) and I wasn’t able to find anything that caught my eye when I was out and about looking, SO, I thought a great way to get exactly what I wanted was to make it! AND then I could share it with you here, ya know, kill two birds with one stone. So, I found this great tutorial from Diary of a Quilter  about how to make a simple christmas stocking, and it really was easy, I was actually surprised! The site even has a great pattern you can print out, but I did not have a printer so I just drew one up really quickly and called it a day! But, here is a quick run down of how I made it all happen, and if I had a sewing machine I probably could have done this little activity in about an hour or two.

What you’ll need:
– 2 yards of two different fabrics, an exterior and a lining
– sewing machine, or needle and thread
– any ruffles or extra touches you might want to add to your stocking
– a piece of poster board to make a pattern

After I drew out my pattern I traced the boot onto my fabric, as you can see the boot is disproportionate, SO needless to say there was some extra trimming of fabric to get it the right shape, which is why I recommend downloading the pattern from the link above. I made two stockings so I had to cut the pattern 4 times in EACH fabric, the outside fabric, which was my red burlap, and the inside fabric, which was a cream color.

I found  this stocking online that had a cute little tree stitched on the outside, which I knew I could replicate fairly easily, so I stitched that on to what would have been the front of one of the red pieces.

Then you lay the two outside pieces and two inside pieces on top of each other. Make sure that the parts that will be showing when the stocking is finished are facing each other, so you are sewing on the inside and can hide the seams!  At this point you want to stitch the two colors together along the seam so that they are attached, end to end.

Then do a quick stitch around the seams. I double stitched my burlap because the treads were already coming undone, so I wanted to be better safe than sorry! Also make sure you leave a little space so you can turn everything right side out, kind of like when you make a throw pillow. She then recommends cutting off the excess, which I did, and then cutting notches in the toe, which I did NOT do, but now also recommend, if ya get my drift. 

Next you want to turn everything right side out, see how my little tree is showing now! And then do a quick stitch to close up the hole you used to turn the stocking right side out, you should have something that looks kind of like the above picture!

The you want to stuff the lining into the outer part of the stocking

Next, I folded down the seam to hide the raw edges and give it that traditional christmas stocking look.

Then I used some cute little buttons I got from hobby Lobby to decorate the tree, I saved all the girly looking buttons and put them on my stocking, since we don’t have them monogrammed or anything to know which is which! Then I added a loop of the cream colored fabric to the corner so I can use it to hang on a hook and, there you have it! Some crafty Christmas stockings!

Proper Prior Planning: Halloween

In college my friend Courtney introduced me to one of my favorite phrases. I feel like you can apply it to any area of your life: “Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance” She calls them the 6 P’s of success. I feel that this is especially applicable to planning for Halloween. David and I are attending two halloween parties next weekend and we have been musing over the perfect costumes for about a month now. He and I jokingly decided I was going to be Honey Boo Boo and because of all excitement it caused on Facebook, there is no backing down now!
I mean I think one of these parties is going to have a costume contest… annnnd I fully intend to win….probably in the category of humor… or best costume, because I am going all out! I plan to be pageant day Honey Boo Boo!

Complete with a frilly pink dress, a sash, and GINORMOUS toddlers and Tiaras crown glitzed out with lots and lots of rhinestones, and of course my special juiiiiiice, and potentially a stuffed pig. Because Honey Boo Boo isn’t Honey Boo Boo without Glitzy! I mean look at all the awesome supplies I have to make this costume!!! its going to be amazing!

I cant wait to finish it, and take a lot of pictures and share them with you! Also, unfortunately I was unable to get David to have some kind of coinciding costume, BUT he did come up with a GREAT costume on his own, so I can’t be too upset! He is going to be Yukon Cornelius, the little man from Rudolph, I am a big supporter of David singing the Silver and Gold song, but I haven’t had much luck with it so far! Depressing!

BUT on his own accord his has decided he will be wearing a ONESIE from Walmart as a part of his costume, and I couldnt be more excited about the idea. I kind of secretly hope its a little to short or something, so he has on highwaters! hahah! But, just try to imagine david wearing this, with a little paper picaxe, and a toy gun….
I can already tell this Halloween will be a memorable one! What other creative costumes are lurking out there, OR what are some funny creative costumes you and your friends have done in the past?