New Social Icons!

Did you guys happen to notice my new social icons over on the right? Aren’t they cute? I love them. And no, I did not make them myself… I have absolutely no concept of how to do that. Believe it or not I actually won them during a giveaway hosted by Nellie Bellie a little while back. I linked up to the Bloggy Olympics she was hosting and was randomly chosen to receive custom social icons from Gwen at This Bold Girl. She sent me three different options, I chose one, and she made me five icons for different social websites. The RSS feed icon should be working properly. I linked the Pinterest one to my personal Pinterest and the email one will be functional soon! Gwen also made me icons for Twitter and Facebook, but since I don’t have either of those directly associated with my blog, I’m not going to use them as of yet. Hopefully, I will eventually. Thanks, Gwen!

Reader Features at Take-A-Look Tuesday

One of my favorite blogs to read is Sugar Bee Crafts. Every Tuesday, Mandy hosts her “Take-A-Look Tuesday” link party and then on Wednesday lets one of her readers feature their favorites from the party. Guess what?! I got to be the one to pick the features this week! I thought it was very exciting. Anyways, if you want to see the amazing projects and recipes I chose as my favorites, head on over to her blog. :)

Scrapbook Paper Branches

I’m finally all moved in to my apartment at school! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to write any posts, let alone actually post them! Here’s the scrapbook paper branches I finished before I left to come back to school. I’ll have quite a few of my other projects up soon!

When I saw this scrapbook paper tree from Two Girls Being Crafty, I knew I wanted to make one similar to it. It’s kind of like a plant (a little bit…), but involves no dirt or watering and it looks so cute! It would also be a great project to use up scrapbook paper pieces if you had them laying around.

I live in the land of palm trees and there are no trees near my house with easily obtainable branches that I needed for this project. Luckily, I visited my grandparents who have about eight oak trees in their yard and rummaged through their brush pile until I found a few perfect branches. Once I got home, I broke off the leaves, spray painted them brown to make them all a uniform color, and let them dry.

I made two leaf templates out of cardboard, a big one and a small one. Then I traced the templates onto a couple different colors and patterns of scrapbook paper and cut them out.

 

 

Cut a bunch of “stems” out of wire. I used 22 gauge for the larger leaves and 26 gauge for the smaller leaves, but it really didn’t make much of a difference. Once you have a big pile of leaves, paint the back of one side with mod-podge, lay a piece of wire onto the mod-podge and cover it with another leaf. I did matching colors, but mismatched ones would probably be cute too. Make sure you press down to make sure the wire will stay between the two sides.

 

After you get all your leaves made, you’re ready to attach them to the branches! Just wrap the wire around the branches and arrange the leaves however you want.

Then, I arranged all my branches and wired the bottoms so they would stay together, but all you really have to do is stick them in a pretty vase and you’re done!

 

Here’s a picture of where they are in my apartment! They’re at the top of the stairs on that cute yellow cabinet, which is the first thing you see when you walk in the door. I love them!

 

Puff-Paint Doily

As you guys know, I’m about to move into a new apartment! Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to make things that I can hang on the walls in my bedroom, like the chevron canvas, wire bulletin board, and window mirror I have already finished. I saw a tutorial for a puff-paint doily on Pinterest (of course) that I thought was creative and cute, but I didn’t really have any use for a doily, let alone one made out of puff-paint. Instead of using it as an actual doily, I decided to put it on a canvas!

Start by printing out a picture of a doily. I just Google image searched for one. You could also use a real doily if you have one, but I don’t have any. Instead, I printed out my picture to fit on a 9 x 12 canvas and put it inside a gallon-sized plastic bag, but I’d recommend using wax paper.

Trace the image with puff-paint and let it dry. I left mine overnight.

The next morning I tried to peel it off of the plastic, which was a little tricky and why I’d use wax paper next time. I painted my canvas with a light blue, pearlescent paint and then dry brushed it with navy.

I was going to leave the doily white, but when I put it on top of the canvas I didn’t like the way it looked, so I painted it navy. After that was dry, I mod-podged it onto the canvas and it was finished!

I love the slightly 3-D look the puff-paint gives the canvas. This would be a great technique to use for any design on a bunch of different surfaces. Let me know if you try it!

Chevron Canvas How-To

Chevron has been all over the place recently and I’m usually not a huge fan of stripes, however, for some reason, if the stripes are zig zagged I love them. Who would’ve thought? Anyways, I’ve been trying to find some way to incorporate chevron into the decor of my new room, but hadn’t figured out the perfect way until now: a canvas!

At first, I thought I would wing it and just try to free hand the stripes. Then I remembered that I’m horrible at free handing, especially when it comes to straight lines and angles, so I came up with a method to make sure my chevron turned out as perfect as possible!

I started with a 10 x 10 canvas and drew a grid of 1 x 1 squares on it using a ruler. Then I connected the corners of each square to make a chevron pattern, like this…

On the rows that are blank in that picture, I drew lines from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of each square.

I taped over the stripes that I didn’t want to paint the first color. I started to use duct tape, but it was wider than my stripes, so I had to cut it. That ended up being super tedious, so I switched to normal Scotch tape because it was the right thickness.

I used two different colors of green on the stripes that weren’t taped and ended up with this…

Once it dried, I peeled off the tape and put more tape over the green stripes so I could give the rest of the stripes two coats of white paint. This covered up the pencil marks and gave it a crisper look.

Then, to add a little bit of extra pizazz and because I really wanted to use my new green glitter paint, I gave the white stripes a coat of glittery, sheer green paint. After a little bit of touching up, this is the final product!

If I had used painter’s tape instead of Scotch tape, the edges of the lines probably wouldn’t have needed as much touching up, but I couldn’t find my painter’s tape and I’m still happy with how it turned out! I hope this helps if you decide to paint something with chevron!

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps were the last of the three recipes Carson and I made for the finale of The Bachelorette last Sunday. We ate these as an “appetizer” for the Puppy Chow and Cake Batter Dip and boy were they good! And very easy too.

We got our inspiration from this recipe at She Wears Many Hats which Carson had pinned on Pinterest a while back. Since we wanted to be sure our food was done before the episode started, we bought an already made hoisin sauce at the grocery store instead of making the sauce in the recipe. It was still delicious!

Here’s the recipe we used:

  • one package of chicken, diced
  • one onion, diced
  • three cloves of garlic, minced
  • canola oil
  • 1/4 cup or so of hoisin sauce
  • handful of cashew halves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lettuce leaves

Heat a few tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet over medium high heat and brown the chicken. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are soft and beginning to brown, then add the hoisin sauce and cashews and stir until everything is coated in the sauce. Let it cook for a few more minutes to make sure everything is hot and then serve with the lettuce leaves! Makes about six large lettuce wraps.

I loved that this recipe used diced chicken instead of ground chicken and that it was so quick to make. We used Romaine lettuce leaves because they are easier to wrap up (which made them a little less messy). This could easily be served as a dinner too!

Mmmm Cake Batter Dip!

Along with the Puppy Chow, this Cake Batter Dip was another snack Carson and I made for the Bachelorette finale and it was SO GOOD! My friend Katherine had made it a week or so ago and told me how good it was, so we decided to make it too. Here’s how!

Ingredients:

  • box of Funfetti cake mix (or any other flavor)
  • a tub of Cool Whip
  • three individual cups of plain yogurt
  • Nilla Wafers for dipping

All you have to do is stir together the cake mix, the Cool Whip, and the yogurt and it’s ready to eat! So simple! Ours was about the consistency of canned icing, but you could alter the amount of Cool Whip and yogurt if you want it to be a little thicker or thinner. Eat it on Nilla Wafers or animal crackers or whatever else you would like. It’s delicious! And it isn’t too sweet, so you can eat lots of it :) Make sure to keep it in the refrigerator though.

Next time I want to try it with a Devil’s Food cake mix and Carson thought brownie mix would probably be good too. Yum! Katherine had a good idea and made hers with greek yogurt. Getting protein from something that tastes like cake batter? Works for me!

Making the Perfect Puppy Chow

My friend Carson and I started a tradition last summer of making a big batch of this Puppy Chow to eat while we watched the Bachelor each week. Yes, I know… the Bachelor and Bachelorette are mostly fake, dramatic, kinda trashy TV shows, but we get excited about watching them anyways. Luckily, our Puppy-Chow tradition continued on this summer with the Bachelorette! For the finale last week we went all out and made three snacks instead of the typical one, but we made sure to have the Puppy Chow among them!

I know almost everyone has heard of Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies) and the recipe is on the box of Chex cereal, but over the past few summers Carson and I have perfected it. Here are some tips to make your Puppy Chow even better!

  • The original recipe doesn’t have quite enough chocolate and peanut butter coating, so we use almost a whole bag of milk chocolate chips and a big scoop of peanut butter to make sure there’s lots of the good stuff. The more the merrier!
  • Just use the whole box of Chex… who eats the last little bit that doesn’t get put in the recipe anyways?
  • I usually leave out the vanilla. It’s one less ingredient and I really don’t notice if it’s not there.
  • We melt the butter, chocolate, and peanut butter in a huge pot on the stove and add the cereal to the giant pot instead of microwaving it and pouring it on the cereal in a bowl. I definitely don’t have a bowl big enough to stir all of that in.
  • Stirring… This is the hard part and Carson and I always try and make the other person do it.  Even though the pot is big enough, we always feel like we’re crushing the cereal and yes, Puppy Chow crumbs are quite tasty, but we prefer the big pieces. This is how we stir the cereal into the chocolate and peanut butter: add about half the cereal to the pot, tilt the pot towards you a little bit and run your spatula around the outside of the pot. It sort of spins the cereal like clothes in a dryer and coats it without smashing it! The same method works for adding the powdered sugar.

Hopefully these hints are helpful in making your next batch of Puppy Chow. If you’ve never had it before, definitely make it, but beware because it’s seriously addicting!

Edamame Dip

I know… Edamame dip sounds a little bit odd. I thought the same thing when I first saw it on the menu of a restaurant across the street from campus, but then I tried it and it was surprisingly good. It’s packed with protein and if you use part-skim ricotta, or even greek yogurt, you can make it a bit healthier than it already is.

Ingredients:

  • bag of frozen, shelled edamame, defrosted
  • head of garlic
  • ricotta cheese
  • basil
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • pretzel chips, vegetables, crackers, etc. for dipping

First, roast the garlic. I did this by slicing off the top of the head of garlic, drizzling it with olive oil, wrapping it in foil, and roasting it in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes. When it is done, squeeze the garlic out of the skins. While the garlic is roasting, make sure your edamame is defrosted.  Put it into the food processor with a scoop of ricotta cheese, six or so leaves of chopped basil, the juice of half a lemon, garlic, and a little bit of salt.

Pulse until it is all blended together, then add olive oil and process until you get it to the consistency you like. I left mine a little thick so it’s more like a spread, but feel free to add more olive oil.

Pretzel chips are my favorite, so that’s what I served with my edamame dip, however sliced veggies or another type of cracker would be good too. It’s a perfect snack or even a light lunch. Use any leftovers as a yummy spread on a sandwich!

This recipe is the simpler version of the Roasted Garlic Edamame Spread at myrecipes.com!

4th of July Tank

Can you believe that tomorrow is July?! So… happy almost 4th of July! The 4th of July is my favorite holiday because every year my family goes to our beach house where we watch the parade and see amazing fireworks shows right on the beach. This year, we are going to be in the parade! It’s definitely not a fancy parade; just people who decorate their cars and boat trailers to throw beads, but I still need a patriotic shirt to wear! I decided to make my own.

All I used for this project was a big t-shirt, packaging tape (or painter’s tape would have worked), star stickers, and spray paint. I started with a medium sized white t-shirt, then I cut off the sleeves to make it into a tank, made the neckline more open, and trimmed off the bottom hem. I also took in the sides of the shirt to make it fit a little better.

You can see the lines where I cut it the second time. It took me a couple of tries and lots of trying on to get it exactly how I wanted it to be, but this is what I ended up with.

Once the shirt fit the way I wanted it to, I taped off the part that I wanted to be blue. You can see the packaging tape going down the center and then across. The plan was originally to use painter’s tape, but I ended up not having any, so I improvised with packaging tape and it worked just fine. I bought star-shaped foam stickers at Joann’s because I thought it would be a lot easier than cutting them out of tape, plus 4th of July stuff was everywhere, so they were really easy to find. Normal stickers would work too, I’m sure.

Fold the shirt over so that the paint doesn’t get on the part that is going to be striped, then lightly spray paint it. You could make it darker or lighter if you want. I put a piece of cardboard between the layers of the shirt because I was thinking the spray paint might soak through the first layer, but it didn’t, so feel free to skip that step if you decide to make one!

After I peeled off the star stickers and tape, it looked like this! I was very excited with it! I used the tape to make the stripes on the rest of the shirt

Then covered up the blue part with cardboard and spray painted it red!

I peeled off the tape and took off the cardboard and had this! Cool, right?

Then I spray painted the whole shirt with glitter spray paint. It’s a little bit hard to see in pictures, but it’s there!

I also decided to make the bottom part fringed. To make the fringe I cut about three inches up, every inch or so, then pulled on each tab to make it curl up a little bit.

And that was it! I can’t wait to wear it in the parade on the 4th of July! Maybe it will make an appearance for the Olympics–my second favorite holiday!