Monday, December 31, 2012

'Cue & Brew

Here's the next installment of handmade gifts included in this year's Christmas hampers: Granary Frames

I purchased these frames from the Stampin' Up! clearance rack last Thanksgiving during their blitz sale- once they arrived & I saw how gorgeous they were, I promptly ordered 6 more!  They were an incredible bargain and the nicest frames I had seen, far exceeding anything from the "M" store.

For "Mr. 'Cue"/chef, I kept the look modern & minimalist, hoping to appeal to his tastes:)  He commented on that immediately when the frame was opened & rewarded me with a huge grin- pleasing a perfectionist = priceless:)  I should know!

I love the look of the satin ribbon next to the wheat kernel...sheave...things.  I won't elaborate on how long I spent changing up the layout for this frame- it was a success & that's all that matters:)

And for "Mr. Brewmaster" I went with an aged/vintage look, hoping to appeal to his more rugged tastes:)  I took a sheet of Stampin' Up! DSP (can't remember the collection...grrr...but I loved all of it!), cut out the center and adhered with my handy dandy glue stick- Mod Podge would have worked well too, but I didn't have any on hand. 

Then I distressed the edges with a sanding block and sponged the corners/edges for additional character:)

I was so pleased with the final results and more importantly, so were 'Cue & Brew:)

Thanks for looking,

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Brewmaster

Today I'm sharing the next installment of 'Granary' themed handmade gifts: Beer Cap Magnets

 You see, my youngest brother is the 'Brewmaster' of The Granary, brewing 4 house made craft beers as well as authentic root beer- it's really brewed from roots!  So, I hatched a plan to incorporate beer caps into my Christmas hampers and enlisted the help of Alex's wonderful wife, Leah- she began saving and I began planning...


These were quite fun!


I started with a dab of liquid nails (had it on hand) on large magnets (craft store) and positioned on the back of the caps (hot glue & E6000 have been noted as adhesive alternatives) and then allow to dry...for a long time...overnight.

And then I did something that I hadn't seen elsewhere- I added my cardboard spacers (there's a slight difference in height between the magnet and beer cap, thus the need for a spacer) to the back of the magnet vs in between the magnet and cap.  I found the magnet was leaving marks on my fridge when I tested them so by cutting some thick cardboard circles from the Big Shot and adhering those to the magnet backs, my fridge was protected and the magnets worked like a charm!

I also made some wine cork magnets (sorry, no pic...was in such a hurry to finish these!) using magnet sheets and my handy dandy hot glue gun- they came out really well too:)

Thanks for looking & stay tuned for more handmade gifts tomorrow!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker...

All of the above?  Why not?

A few months back, my 2 younger brothers opened their first restaurant, The Granary (with the help of their saintly wives!)- I'm IMMENSELY proud of them, so in honor of their great achievements this year, I opted for "Granary" themed Christmas gifts:)  Have I mentioned that I love, love, love themes?!!! (grin)

The first item to reside in their Christmas hampers was this:

...a butcher's diagram flour sack towel.  I was quite pleased with how these came out:)

I started with this tutorial and a trip to Hobby Lobby for the pens/embroidery hoop etc... and I got the towels at Bed Bath & Beyond- they're extra large and extra nice...not all flour sack towels are created equal:)

I initially traced with a fine tip pen but then went over again with a broader tip since I wanted 'Francis' to be a manly pig:)

 And here is the diagram, since I know you're going to want to try this out too!

I also penned 'The Granary' in the restaurant's font below the pig...accidentally deleted that pic though...grrrr.

And there you have it, Ethel!  "Next to sugar, Cuba's biggest export is ham"!!!

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Measuring Up...

I trust that you have all enjoyed a marvelous Christmas- as you can tell, I took a wee break to fully immerse myself in the festivities and enjoyed each moment to the fullest!

And now it's time to get back to grocery shopping, cooking lasagna, washing diapers, organizing toys etc... and prioritizing my next mountain of projects:)  So while I've been mentally making some notes, I stumbled upon this wonderful free measurement chart- the vintage theme had me in a moment:)

I've been wanting a handy dandy measurement chart to keep better track of my little M's for awhile but assumed I would have to orchestrate it myself...equating to never being done since I'm not all!  I've been grinning since finding this little treasure and can't wait to fill in some measurements!

What am I planning to make first?  I think some flannel PJ bottoms and then Valentines outfits since that's just around the corner:)

Stay tuned for details on the handmade gifts I've been working on for the past month or so- they were a hit on Christmas Day and the whole family is requesting more 'handmade holiday' themes:)  Can't wait!


Friday, December 21, 2012

"Swell" Book Caddy

You remember this, right?  "Infanticipating" Lucy asks Ricky to read a children's book to test his English/reading skills.  Poor Ricky is not able to successfully maneuver "...through, cough, bough & enough."  As a result, Lucy hires an English tutor and gets more than she bargains for with "Mr. Livermore":)

I won't go into further details of how closely the above scene resembles our own family dynamics and family reading time, except to say that 'Ricky' is happy for me to do the bedtime stories while he & our little M's listen:)

I've loved reading since I can remember & hope to see our children embrace the wonders of escaping into a literary work, evoking imaginary worlds and creativity far beyond their scope- it's part of what makes childhood such a special place.  So we encourage them by reading aloud:)

While browsing on Pinterest (for a controlled amount of time!) recently, I saw this travel book caddy and thought, "I'm totally making that this week!".

I followed the tutorial with just four tweaks:
  • I top stitched along the upper edges of the book pockets- gives a nice finished look
  • I used fleece interfacing (had a surplus!)
  • I added buttons vs a flower
  • I didn't make my own bias tape!
 I opted to double stitch along the bias tape for added security and since I was in a hurry, it looks a bit "lousy" in a few spots but I don't my little M's will mind:)


I also brainstormed (while sewing) to add an " x box" which ended up looking "lousy", so I added some buttons transforming my "lousy" stitching into a "swell" detail:)

And here is my "swell" caddy with a few board books tucked inside, all ready for it's debut Christmas morning!

Another fabulous project for utilizing fat quarters!

Fabric (4 FQs): $4
Bias tape:$1.19
Ribbon: stash resident= free!

 So for less than $6 you can reproduce this "swell" addition to your car for a road trip or just outings around town, keeping your little ones reading:)

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Resale & Roast

Lucy: "Oh that reminds me, I need to put a roast in the oven...."

There's something so homey and inviting about that simple statement- 'Ricky' certainly agrees & so I set out to accomplish just that today, amongst many other things.

And now that we've weathered the worst of the tummy bug that captured Livy's person for the past week, I felt my little M's would welcome some distraction and a visit to Kid to Kid to "pay toys".

Here are some of the treasures we brought home:

Melissa & Doug various wooden trucks:

I was mildly disappointed to discover that the wheels are plastic vs wood, however my satisfaction was quickly restored when I saw that the pieces to each truck stack on the wooden pegs, providing even more playtime fun!  These got wrapped for Christmas:)

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Activity Board:


The kids played with this all day & love it!  There are 3 cardboard scenes and then corresponding magnets for each- Olivia still insists that the whale belongs at the farm vs under the sea:)

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Maze:

This is still a bit advanced for Livy but she happily watched as I matched up the beads and has attempted it a few times- she inevitably went back to squeezing as many of the magnets on her new 'farm' magnet board though:)

Elephant Backpack/Leash:

We'll be enjoying a family vacation at Disney World in just a few weeks and decided that both our little M's should be leashed- Jonah will be sporting the "baby enno" aka "baby elephant" while Livy leads the way with her pink puppy, "Patches".

Mr. Men DVD:

Growing up in the UK, Mr. Men were extremely popular like 'Dora' is here...only Mr Men are way better than 'Dora'!  

So, how much for all this loot?  Well, with a $5 coupon & $10 rewards card credit, it came to the grand total of $14 with tax- score!  That makes each of these treasures less than $3 each!

Livy helped me clean the toys while Jonah napped and then it was time to start on my roast: a marmalade glazed pork roast with glazed veggies...mmmm.

Here's the recipe (courtesy of Cook's Country)- hope you enjoy!

3 lb pork roast, center cut
1/3 cup marmalade
1 tbsp fresh rosemary 
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb parsnips, peeled & cut in 3 inch pieces
2 red onions, sliced in 1 inch wedges
salt & pepper

1. With oven rack in middle position, heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place roast in center of roasting pan and liberally season with salt & pepper.
2. Mix marmalade & rosemary together in bowl and spread 1/2 the mixture over the top of the roast.  Add orange juice & olive oil to remainder of sauce and toss veggies with 2 tbsp- arrange veggies around roast.
3. Cook until instant read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the roast registers 120 degrees, 30-45 mins.  Pour remaining sauce on top of roast and raise oven temp to 450 degrees.
4. Cook until roast registers 140 degrees, 10-15 mins and remove to platter & tent with foil.  Toss veggies in pan juices and continue roasting for 10 mins until caramelized and sauce thickens.
5. Slice roast and serve with veggies & pan sauce!

I subbed carrots and sweet onions for the veggies and fresh thyme for the rosemary- it was divine & I got a huge thumbs up from 'Ricky'!  This is a 'cheap' roast dinner (especially if you get your roast on sale!) so can be made often.  And since it's so easy and outstandingly yummy, what are you waiting for?  "...put a roast in the oven" and get ready for happy tummies:)

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quick & Easy Handmade Wrap

Wanting to package up some goodies in style?  Here's a solution on the cheap!

Take an empty (& washed!) peanut tin & strip of the label...

Measure and cut a corresponding piece of wrapping paper and use your Handy Dandy glue stick to adhere in place...

Top with your choice of embellishment & you're done!  TIP: I had a surplus of formula tins last year and they were great for packaging hot choc mix & Christmas cookies!

Handmade wrap in 5 mins, sure to impress your recipient!  This also makes for a great activity to get your kids involved in Christmas cheer aka the season of giving:)


Saturday, December 15, 2012

DIY Anthropologie Cardigan

I've been wanting to refashion a plain black cardi in my wardrobe and so began looking for inspiration...after spending several hours scouring Pinterest and Google searches and gathering enough ideas for 15 cardigans, I finally decided on this one from Anthropologie in hopes that I could retain some versatility.

First I needed to alter the cardi as it had gotten a bit baggy (yeah!) and I needed to shorten the sleeves to a 3/4 length- I opted to not shorten the body of the cardi since I don't have an Anthro figure and didn't feel it would be flattering:)

I followed this great tutorial for the altering and LOVED it- so easy and satisfying!  Wish I hadn't gotten rid of some cardis due to poor fit...

I bought some black lace off the bolt at Hobby Lobby with a coupon and some black beads for the sparkle action- I spent far too long looking for the perfect beads, much to Livy & Jonah's chagrin...(sigh).

Then it was time to figure out how to attach my lace...after much research and advice sought out from professionals (thanks, Sylvia!) I smeared some Stampin' Up! Anywhere glue stick to help tack down the lace and then hand stitched around the perimeter...

Lesson learned: would have been much easier to cut one piece of lace for each side of the cardi in the desired shape vs spending way too long piecing little 'bits' and then having to stitch around those dozen or so pieces!  Just saying...cause there will be a next time:)

So, I got the lace stitched on and beaded and realized my pattern had digressed from the I added more on the shoulders:)

Finally, the buttons needing tackling...

 I picked up some cheesy black rhinestones to adhere to the existing buttons, partly to save time (didn't really want to hand sew 8 buttons) and because I couldn't find the perfect buttons!

A dab of fabric glue and on the rhinestones went- they actually blend really well since one is hopefully focusing on the 'forest' and not the 'trees':)

Pardon the glue smears- hadn't washed yet!

Sorry for the poor lighting- I finally gave up.  The pic really doesn't do this little beauty justice:(  And as you can see, I opted to add more lace & sparkles than the inspiration piece, and more of a 'bib' shape:)

So in closing, I was able to make a lovely cardi for approx $10, hopefully reminiscent of an Anthro creation priced at $268:)

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stocking Stuffers

 Today I'm honored to be sharing these little cuties over at Sweet Stamper's blog so hop on over for all the details!

And tomorrow, check back here for another refashion reveal!

Thanks, Tiffany

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Outdoor Artist Desk

While going for a neighborhood walk with my little M's and Ladybug aka "Wa Wa" a few weeks back, I spotted an unwanted diaper changing table.  So, I hustled everyone back to the house, loaded the kids in the car and zoomed all of fifty feet away to maneuver said piece into the back of my car while praying no one would witness my enthusiastic capture!

The table was in good condition so I was a bit surprised that it was set out with the rubbish, but you know how the saying goes, "One man's trash...". 

Later that night 'Ricky' arrived home and didn't even bat an eye that I had another piece of 'reclaimed' furniture cluttering our garage and politely asked, "What is that 'thin'?"  I airily responded, "I'm going to make something for the was free!" if that piece of info was more than enough explanation!

And so the reclaimed diaper changing table has been hibernating in the garage for the past month...  I had thought to make it into a desk for Livy's room but then would need to find a chair...another project (cringe)...and so today, I spontaneously decided that it would make a fabulous outdoor artist desk where Livy could stand for the time being, a position she prefers when wielding her art supplies:)

Granddaddy came by today and graciously whacked off the legs to an appropriate height with my newly acquired, 'handy dandy jigsaw' while I corralled Livy from "hepping" too much; she's using the tape measure here:)

Aahhh, the mesmerizing lull of power tools...

Having just woken from a nap, Jonah happily observed from his swing...

...while Olivia tested out her new outdoor artist's desk!  Tip: Granddaddy did attach the 'bars' to the legs with a good whack for added support and I have plans for the neglected shelf...think chalkboard paint:)

Did I mention that this was FREE?!!!  A successful reclaim added to my growing repertoire of DIY (+Granddaddy!) projects:)

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Village

In the past few years I've developed a deepening appreciation of Christmas villages, however, due to limited budget & space, never considered launching into this facet of decor collection:)

During a Goodwill 'raid' a few months ago, I saw these little houses, perched on a shelf...

 They were perfect!   If only there were more, since you can't form a village with just 2 houses...

 ...a little further down the aisle I discovered a church- how appropriate:)  I guess once a 'PK', always a 'PK'!

And then a theater for my lovely sister-in-law, Leah (theater major) and for my dramatic family...

...and then a bakery as we're a family who love to bake and I'm now obsessed with Bakery Lorraine (Eggnog Eclair)...

...and last but not least, a City Hall- no comment!  Let's just say that God Almighty has quite a sense of humor in provided this lovely edifice vs a bank, school house etc...!  I'm a much better driver now:)

Sometimes, when you're secretly hoping for something and all the while knowing you just can't have it right now, God in His great love provides:)

My Christmas village was a whopping $8, making me one happy shopper & 'Ricky' is now anxious to light them up!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tis the Season

One of the many (and I do mean, many!) things that I love about Christmas are the movies.  In our home, we have numerous traditional flicks that are viewed religiously and quoted throughout the year- just one more way to keep the spirit of Christmas going all year long:)

What are some of those titles?  Golden oldies like, "Holiday Inn", "It's a Wonderful Life", "White Christmas", "The Bishop's Wife", "Holiday Affair", "Christmas in Connecticut", "Shop Around the Corner" & "Miracle on 34th Street".

And each year I aim to add another favorite.  Last year we added "It Happened on 5th Avenue" & "The Bells of St. Mary's" for the old list.

On the 'cheesy' film front, my top 2 faves are "Borrowed Hearts" (aka "Borrowed Farts", coined by my obnoxious brother!) and "The Christmas Card"- I watch them over and over...and over...just ask hubby:)

This year we're adding flicks such as A Charlie Brown Christmas for our little Ms:)

So, what do you enjoy watching at Christmas?  At the Ricardo's, we're always looking for a new fave!