Skip to content

A New and Better Blog!

September 6, 2011

Hello dear Readers!  The time has come for me to transfer my blog from being hosted for free on WordPress.COM to WordPress.ORG, where it will be hosted by a third party site.  I’ll have a lot more control over the layout and appearance of my site, and I’m excited to play around with different looks.  It will still be under the domain, so you won’t have to worry about going to a different website to continue reading my blog.

That being said, my site will be down for the next 24-36 hours while everything is being transferred over, so don’t worry…I haven’t left you!  Look at it as though my blog is graduating from high school into college. 🙂  Thanks for your patience during this time, and I can’t wait to see where this new blog will take us!

Baby Booties Giveaway Winner!!

September 6, 2011

The winner of the Baby Booties Giveaway is………………drumroll please…………….

Comment #40:  Stacy H!!!!

Congratulations Stacy!  I hope you enjoy the baby booties!  Thank you to everyone who entered the contest!  Keep checking back, cuz I might do another contest in the next week or two.

Smokey House Rehab (Part 5)

September 5, 2011

I know it’s been a couple months since I posted an update on the Smokey House Rehab, but that’s mainly because there’s been nothing to update you about.  The rehab has been on the back burner because of all the wedding madness, and we’ve finally gotten back into it.  The last time we attempted to fix it up ourselves with no help from professionals, it was 100° outside with no working A/C, which made it about 110° inside the house.  We were trying to put up a very heavy light fixture in the house and it wasn’t cooperating, and that pretty much pushed us past our breaking point.  We decided that we wanted to hire some help instead of doing it all ourselves, because we were just getting too burnt out.

We had several contractors/handy men/painters come and take a look at the house to give us quotes, and then once they left, we never heard back from them.  What’s the deal?  People don’t want work?  Finally, we found an awesome painter that has been doing an amazing job so far.

So far he’s painted all the bedrooms, the hallway, the bonus room, and the stairway going up to the bonus room.

We chose Mushroom Bisque as the wall color, and we couldn’t be more happy.  It’s a good contrast with the white trim, and it’s a nice tan color without being too peachy, as some tans can be.

I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning the kitchen……again.  This kitchen is seriously my nemesis, but I think I finally conquered it!  Our painter is going to be painting the inside of the cabinets to try to get rid of the smell that is still lingering from the previous tenant who smoked heavily in the house and somehow got this kitchen dirtier than anything I have ever seen.  We’re going to be replacing those awful green counter tops and that dirty sink and faucet, as well as installing a pretty, modern, tile floor.  It’s gonna look like a brand new kitchen!

After I was satisfied with my cleaning job in the kitchen, I got started on the weeds in the front yard.  There were certain sections of grass around the walkway that had weeds that grew like they were on steroids.  The rest of the grass would be a normal length, and these weeds were 2 feet tall!  So I pulled them all out……in the rain.  We had a landscape company come out a few weeks ago and completely demo the entire backyard, which was previously covered with thick weeds and vineage (yes that’s a word, even though my spell check doesn’t think so).  They removed the tree stumps from those huge cedar trees and dug out all the weeds and about an inch of top soil to get rid of most of the roots.  Then they spread seed and covered it with hay so that the seeds would be able to germinate more successfully.  Now we have pretty little shoots of grass poking through, and in about a month it’ll be a pretty grassy backyard, instead of the forest it was when we started.

Steve spent the day pressure washing the outside of the house and the deck, and what a difference!

It’s amazing what some high-pressured water can do!  You can actually see the grain of the wood now instead of a thick layer of greenish black algae, or whatever that stuff is.  We’ll be sealing the deck once it’s completely clean so that it’ll last for several more years.

Next time we go to the house, I’ll be sure to take a picture of the backyard so you can see the difference from when I posted this picture:

Yellow Scrappy Table Runner

September 3, 2011

I’ve been learning how to quilt recently, as you saw in this post, so when my friend Jenni’s birthday came up, I decided it might be a cute idea to make her a quilted table runner as a gift.  I decided this the night before we were supposed to go to her birthday dinner, and I didn’t even have fabric yet.  So I ran over to Joann’s and bought some cute fabric (and of course I didn’t just buy fabric for this one project….because how often do I go to Joann’s and only get what I came for?  Umm….I think never.)  Anyway, I think it turned out really cute, so I thought I’d give a little tutorial on how I did it!

I selected the fabric I wanted to use, and got a larger piece of coordinating fabric for the back and binding.   I was already home before I realized that I probably should have gotten 2 different fabrics for the back and binding, but oh well.  You live and you learn.  It still turned out cute.

First, press all your fabric so that you don’t have to work around any unruly creases or folds.

Then measure and cut strips from your fabric.  I cut 4 strips from each piece of fabric in varying widths.  I had 6 different fabrics I was using for the front, so that totaled 24 strips in all, but you can add more fabric or more strips depending on how long you want your table runner to be.  Remember when you’re cutting that you’re going to need a 1/4 inch seam allowance on all the strips, so cut it 1/2 inch bigger than you want the final width to be.

Next, lay out your strips in the order that you want them, then when you have your desired length and width, cut out your backing piece so that it’s slightly bigger than the fabric strips.

One at a time, pin and sew the strips together, with the right sides facing each other.  Remember to use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

There should be a marker on your sewing machine and/or sewing foot that shows you where 1/4 inch is.

Here’s what the strips will look like when they’re all sewn together.  It doesn’t matter if the edges are perfectly straight, because we’ll be trimming those later.

Cut out some quilt batting to match the size of your backing fabric.  Your backing fabric should be laying right side down when you lay the batting on top.

Lay your strips on top of the batting and smooth out so that there are no loose or wrinkled spots.

Then pin through all 3 layers of fabric and batting so that you make a quilt sandwich that won’t move around.  You’ll want to pin every 6 inches or so in every direction so that the fabric won’t move while you’re sewing it together.  You can also use quilting safety pins, or fusible fleece batting that you can actually iron onto your backing and front fabric so that it basically glues itself to the fabric so you don’t have to worry about pinning.

Now it’s time to quilt.  I just used the seams as a guideline and did straight lines across on either side of each seam, but you can do any quilting pattern that you want.  I don’t have a free motion foot for my sewing machine, so I can only sew in straight lines for now.  But hopefully I’ll get one soon so I can try out all those cool quilting patterns!

Once you get toward the end, you’ll want to roll up the other side of the table runner so that it’s not all bunched up when you’re trying to sew.  It makes life a lot easier!

Trim away any excess batting or uneven edges.

Now comes the binding, which can be pretty tricky.  Cut 4 strips of fabric that are 2 1/2 inches wide.  As for length, I kind of eyeballed it, and just did it as long as my original backing fabric was.  In the picture above, you can see that I folded my fabric in half twice so that I could better cut a straight line.  It was also a time saver to do it this way!

Sew the ends of the binding strips together (right sides together and 1/4 inch seam allowance) and press open the seams so they lay flat.

Then fold your fabric in half so that the right sides are facing out, and press.  This is so you have a nice thick, double binding.

Pin the binding all the way around your table runner with the rough edge facing out, and flush with the rough edge of the table runner.

It’ll look like this when you’re done pinning.

Sew around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Your corners should look like this.  I don’t think I’ll be very good at explaining this, so you can watch this video on binding a quilt.  You’ll be folding the binding around to the back of the table runner and sewing that in place as well, so you’ll have a pretty border around your quilt that hides the rough edges.

Tada!  Here’s the finished table runner!  You can also wash and dry this table runner if you want it to have a more wrinkly and quilted appearance.

I think I might just have to make one of these for myself as well!  You could also do it in Christmas colors for a nice holiday decoration, or for any season really.  It’s a pretty and easy way to change the look of your kitchen throughout the year.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that I explained everything without confusing you.  You can always leave a comment if you have any questions and I will try my best to answer them.

Baby Booties Giveaway!!!

August 29, 2011

I’m giving away this adorable pair of baby booties, crocheted by yours truly!

These baby booties have bright green soles and leaves, and a pretty pink flower with a pearl center.  They fit most babies from 1-4 months.

You have 6 chances to win, and each option below gives you one chance of winning.  If you already do any of the following, you don’t need to do anything but leave a comment telling me you already do.  For example, if you already like my facebook page, just leave a comment here saying that you do.  Make sure you leave one comment per entry, instead of just saying everything in one comment.

Here’s how to enter:

Contest is over.  Winner will be announced shortly.

  • Let me know in the comments section that you would like to win.
  • If you haven’t already, click the “Like” button on my facebook page, and leave a comment here telling me that you’ve done that.  If you already have, just leave a comment telling me that you have.
  • Retweet this post by clicking the Twitter icon under the “Share” button below, and leave a comment saying that you’ve “tweeted” it.
  • If you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog, and leave a comment telling me you’ve subscribed.  You can subscribe in the upper right hand corner of this page.  If you’re already subscribed, just leave a comment saying that you are.
  • If you haven’t already, subscribe to my friend Rachel’s coupon blog, Saving and More, and leave me a comment saying that you have.
  • If you haven’t already, click the “Like” button on Saving and More’s facebook page, and leave me a comment saying that you have.

This contest is only open to U.S. residents, and runs from now until Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 12:00pm Central Time.  The winner will be chosen randomly at  Make sure to leave your comments on THIS BLOG POST, as any facebook comments will not be counted as entries.

Good luck!!!

My First Quilt!

August 28, 2011

It’s true.  I made a quilt!  And I couldn’t be happier with the results.  I found a cute quilt kit at Joann’s that had all the fabric I needed, plus a quilt pattern with instructions, and after reading several quilting blogs, I decided that it was time to give it a try.

And here’s the finished product!!  The front patchwork actually came together pretty easily and quickly.  I did the entire front in about 2 hours or so (that includes cutting each piece as well).

The kit came with a large piece of flannel to use as the backing.  It was neat that the backing had pretty much all the colors in it as the front so it matched perfectly!

The pink border was a little tricky, and my bobbin kept getting messed up, so I had to take the stitches out twice before I was successful.

But it turned out really nice.  Here’s another view of the back.

I decided to crosshatch the quilt, since I don’t know how to free motion quilt yet.  Getting those lines straight and evenly spaced was a little tricky.  An easy way to do it would be to stretch blue painter’s tape across diagonally and stitch along side the edges, then move the tape over every row.  But of course we didn’t have any painter’s tape, so I had to measure it out and mark the lines with chalk.  A longer process, but I ended up with the same result.  I hope you all like my first quilt!  I think I’ll attempt a rag quilt next!  Those are so adorable, and very forgiving from what I’ve read.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

August 27, 2011

Oh yes! The post you’ve all been waiting for!  Well, those of you who are my friends on facebook anyway.  Yesterday I posted an iPhone picture of the Peanut Butter Pie that I made for my husband’s birthday, and let me tell you, it was scrumptious!  I think I gained about 5 lbs just looking at it!  And from the noises our friends were making when they were eating it, I would say it was a hit.

I made this pie for the first time right after I read this post about another food blogger’s husband’s sudden passing.  It touched my heart, and that recipe looked too good not to make.  Plus, we were having some friends over that night, so I figured I would test the recipe on them.  Unfortunately I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, such as semi-sweet chocolate chips (or so I thought….I later found a huge bag of them in my pantry), and I completely ruined the whipped cream by whipping it so much that it almost turned into butter, so I had to resort to whipped cream from a can.  Luckily, the second try turned out so much better, and here is the recipe and tutorial, so that you can also gain 5 lbs in one bite!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 oz chocolate cookies (I used Oreos®)
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted (1/2 a stick)
  • 4 oz finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (unsalted)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Start by putting your cookies into a food processor.  I have a rather small food processor, so I had to do this in about 3-4 batches.  The bag of Oreos I got was 16oz, so I just used half of them to equal 8oz.  Of course if you want your crust a little thicker, you can add more accordingly.

Pulse until finely chopped with no big chunks left.  Then pour the crumbs into a medium bowl.

Melt butter, and pour over crumbs.

Use a fork to combine the butter and crumbs so that it is thoroughly saturated.

Press into a 9 inch spring-form pan so that the bottom is completely covered and flat, and press up the sides about an inch.

Put chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl and microwave to melt.  You can also use the double boiler method, but microwaving was faster.

Spread melted chocolate onto the crust.  Mine came apart a little, but that’s ok.  It might help if you refrigerate your crust, or put it in the freezer while you’re melting your chocolate so it has some time to set.

Add peanuts to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Sprinkle a generous amount over the chocolate, and reserve some for the topping.  Refrigerate crust while you prepare the rest of the pie.

Add cream cheese and peanut butter to a stand mixer.

Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add confectioner’s sugar and stir on low at first until it’s combined, then you can increase the speed.  If you start out too fast, you’ll end up with sugar all over your kitchen.  Of course that’s never happened to me!

Next, add the sweetened condensed milk.

Vanilla Extract.

And lemon juice, and stir on medium speed until well combined.  You can use fresh squeezed lemon juice, but this is what I had on hand.

Pour heavy cream into a medium bowl.

Beat it with a hand mixer until it looks like this.  Do NOT keep going thinking it could be a little stiffer.  I made that mistake, and let me tell you, it was not pretty.  It started to curdle and separate and before I knew it, chunks of butter were starting to form.  It should be light and fluffy and not at all liquidy or chunky.

Add about 1/3 of the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture and stir on low.

Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula.  Do not mix it in with the mixer.  You want to keep it as light and airy as possible.

Here’s what it should look like when it’s all combined.

Pour peanut butter  filling onto the cold crust.

Smooth it out so it’s nice and pretty.

Drizzle some melted chocolate onto the top.  If you need the chocolate to be a little more runny, add a tablespoon of vegetable shortening, and melt in with the chocolate.  You can also add chopped peanuts to the outer edge of the pie to give it that fresh from the bakery look.  Steve said that it looked like a pie from Marie Callendars! 🙂

Refrigerate pie for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight for best results.

When ready to serve, lift the bottom out of the spring form pan.  Isn’t that gorgeous!?

Serve it up, and enjoy!!!!  You may want to eat this with a glass of milk nearby.  It’s super rich!