Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Sew Table Runner

I have been known to change my holiday decor year after year.  This year, I suppose, is no exception.  However, this year I have been extremely short on time.  So, for my dining table, I came up with a super simple, super cheap, and super chic (I think) table runner.

It is just a combo of burlap and faux satin fabrics.  To make this runner, you will need:

  • approx. 2 yards of burlap
  • approx. 2 yards of satin like fabric (or preferred complimentary fabric)
  • scissors
Seriously, that is it.  So, first lets start with the burlap.  When you have it cut at your fabric store...pay attention to HOW they cut it.  You will notice that they will make a little snip right at the edge at the desired measurement.  Then, they will take the thread that is there (going in the direction of the cut) and pull it out.  It may break, but just keep at it until you get the whole length out.  Once this thread is out, you will have a nice guide to make a perfectly straight cut.

I went with two yards of each fabric since that is 72" in length.  My table is 60" x 60" so that gives me a nice little hangover on each end.  Basically, add 12" to the length of your table to get the look that I have here.

Since my table is so wide, I went really wide with the burlap as well, 25".  Using the cutting instructions above, cut your burlap to your desired width.  Once you have made the cut, pull a couple of the threads out on the edge you just cut to give it a little bit of fray.  Lay on the table.

Next, you need to decide how wide to do your satin fabric.  I did mine at 15" so I would be able to see a decent amount of the burlap.  Make a snip at the edge where the selvage is.  Now tear down your entire length.  Yes, tear.  Then measure out your width, make another snip and tear down the whole length again.  The satin will be a lot messier and you will have strings everywhere.  Just snip them off.  Now lay on top of the burlap. 

Your edges will look a little rustic, like this...

Then, I just found these hurricanes (actually left over from our wedding centerpieces nine years ago - I have a ton and finally found a use), put plain white candles in them, and then filled in the hurricanes with fresh cranberries (I have no ideas exactly how long these will last, but one bag cost me $3, so cheap enough to replace if necessary).

And that is it.  Seriously about the easiest thing ever.  And another great thing is that once the cranberries are gone, this is completely neutral so I can leave it on my table throughout the year if I choose.

I had some leftover burlap that I had no idea what to do with.  So, when we brought home our poinsettias with their ugly foil wrapping, it came to me.  I just cut out a length of burlap long enough to wrap around the pot and cut it (I didn't bother with the complicated method above, I just eyeballed it).  Then I wrapped the burlap around the pot, tied it with some ribbon I had leftover from the banner on my mantel (scroll down to see) and then folded over the top edge.  So much nicer looking that that ugly foil, don't you think?

A friend of mine made the banner for me using her Cricut...I just LOVE it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rainbow Party!

My Little Bean has turned 3 years old!  It's so hard to believe...time goes so fast!  To celebrate the occasion, we had a rainbow party, by Bean's request.  She loves all things rainbow!  So, I really took the theme and went with it.  It was a blast to plan.  I wanted to share some pics with you all...

Here is the food table.  Our party was in the mid-afternoon, so we only needed snacks, rainbow goldfish, rainbow candies (sixlets), rainbow sprinkled dipped oreos, and rainbow vegetables.

A close-up of the dipped oreos, yummy.

And I got the most adorable printables for the party.  See below for resources.

A close-up of the cake, which of course, I did myself.  I have to thank pinterest for the inspiration!

And of course, the inside was rainbow too! 

Above both of the tables, I hung paper lanterns in rainbow colors!

And here is Bean in her rainbow party dress...complete with blue shoes and rainbow hair clips.

The gift bags which contained crayons (with rainbows on the outside), skittles, rainbow suckers (the round ones), rainbow leis, and rainbow hair clips (for the girls).

The party table...

Pinwheels made with rainbow scrapbook paper in vases filled with rainbow sixlets.

Since we were having this party in late October, we cannot count on the weather to be decent in any way.  So, I decided to provide crafts for the kids to do to keep them busy.  They seemed to be really successful.  First, I did a Froot Loop necklace craft (hint: don't use yarn as I did, find some cording, it will be easier to string the cereal on).

Second, I did a cloud with a rainbow craft.  Super simple and inexpensive, but the kids really enjoyed them.

A close-up of the lanterns over the party table...I didn't want to put holes in my ceiling, so I just tied them all on to my chandelier with fishing line.

Me and the Bean having a great time at the party...


Printables (including invitations, bottle wraps, thank you tags, etc). - Bloom Events by SM
Rainbow Sixlets - Oh Nuts!
Chinese Lanterns - Asian Ideas
Rainbow Party Dress - Gymboree
Paper Treat Bags - Michaels

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cooking Motivation

No doubt, the bean and I have been enjoying our summer.  However, I have been lacking a little in the craft and culinary areas.  I have either been putting my effort in keeping up the outside or we've been out having fun in the sun while we can.  Oh, and my little bean stopped napping too, which of course gives Mommy even less time.

So, in an attempt to get some of my mojo back, I have given myself a little challenge.  I went to our little local health food store and picked up some spices that I don't regularly use and I am going to try to plan recipes around the spices.  I have also purchased a half a dozen cookbooks in the past month or so (now if I could find the time to sit down and go through them all).

First up:

Chipotle Chili Powder
Here are some of the recipes that I have found:

Fiery Chipotle Baked Beans (I'd omit the chorizo though)
I want to try using it in place of regular chili powder in my butternut squash and black bean chili
Also want to try in tacos

And next:

Smoked Paprika
Goat Cheese With Paprika, Garlic, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Capers a Bruschetta recipe
Smoky Black Bean Soup
Baked BBQ Tofu (always wanted to try backed tofu - worth a shot!)

 Fennel Seeds
Fennel Seed Focaccia with Kalamata Olives
Spicy Turkey Sausage With Fennel Seeds
Marinara Sauce (always looking for a new take)

Garam Masala
Butter Chickpea Curry
Chicken Makhani

I also ordered za'atar from Amazon.  It's an Arabian spiced commonly used simply on bread brushed with oil.  Absolutely delicious!  I grew up in the Middle East, so it is very nostalgic.

I will report back if I find any to die for recipes.  And by all means if anyone has a recipe using any of these spices, please share a link!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Furniture Revamp

 I was very fortunate that my mother wanted to pass on this lovely hutch for free.  It has a lovely antique quality.  It fit beautifully in her home.  She has a very eclectic and antique-y style.  She is a retired interior designer and has a beautiful home.  I, however, have a much more contemporary and non-eclectic style.  So, I decided to revamp the hutch to fit in with what I have (and kept my fingers crossed that Mom doesn't hate it!).

Here is the before picture, and please try to ignore the very, very messy garage in the background.  The upper glass doors were already removed for travel, so they are not shown in this picture.

Now, drum roll, here is the after:

I think it cost me about $35 to redo this, including all of the hardware.  I just bought some white paint (obviously) for the outside, a turquoise (Turquoise Bay at Ace Hardware) for the inside, and new knobs, pulls, and hinges.  I already had primer on hand.

Here is a close-up of the inside of the upper part.  I just love the pops of red with the turquoise.

And I stuck pretty true to the knobs that were on the original piece...the glass was just really yellowed so they needed to be replaced.  Very classic looking, I think.

I went a little more contemporary on the pulls, though.

All in all, I am super happy with how this project turned out.  It makes a beautiful addition to our home and gives me TONS of extra storage.  Also, it is an interesting process refinishing old furniture...when you get in there and see all of the stuff prior owners have done.  All of the nicks and nails...it makes you wonder about them - who they were, when they were, etc.

Have you had any successful furniture refinishing projects.  If so, give me the link or email a pic.  I am always inspired to see other peoples decorating!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Backyard Makeover

It is no secret at all that our landscaping is a work in progress. Given that we have ten acres and no HOA rules to adhere to, we are taking our sweet time. It is so hard to believe that we have been in this house almost five years now and still have no front yard to speak of. Oh well. The backyard is coming along nicely. I posted pictures a while back of our raised beds and retaining walls as well as some before shots of our now fire pit area.

Raised Beds Late Spring
Before pic of the fire pit area - lovely, isn't it?

I have been very busy (with the help of my husband) working to get this project done so that we could be sure to enjoy the space during the summer weather.  We had a few obstacles along the way (what project doesn't, right), but we made it work and we are super happy with the outcome.

We used leftover pavers from the walkway for the actual fire pit...so the only $ that we spent was for the adhesive - only $5!  Of course, the chairs and gravel cost money too, but the gravel was $23 and the chairs were about $80.  So, the grand total for this project:  $105.  I think that is pretty great!

And of course I had to make new red throw pillows on the patio to match the new red chairs, because as many of you know, I am completely obsessed with throw pillows.

And here is the view from the other side of our patio.  Just some bark and a picnic table.  We were so fortunate - my father-in-law made us that table.  I just love it.  Now we have several areas in our backyard to use and we have seating for lots of guests.

I have also been working on transforming the inside as well.  Post and pics to come!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Plan 6/26 - 7/2 and Fun Photos

It feels like it has been forever since I have been on here.  I guess that's because it has.  I have one project too many going on right now and am finding a hard time completing anything.  I was actually able to put a meal plan together this week though (out of necessity) to use up my garden harvest.  I have an abundance of dill and spinach.  A funny thing happened...I thought I was planting beets, but I must have a marble loose, because I planted 4 rows of spinach instead.  Sometimes I scare myself.

So, here is what we're eating this week:

Meal #1 (Family BBQ - my contribution):  Cucumber and Dill Pasta Salad along with grilled fish and sausages.
Meal #2:  Asian Salad with Spinach, Chicken, Oranges, Almonds, and Sesame Ginger Dressing with Crusty Bread
Meal #3:  Dill and Feta Cheese Frittata with Spinach Salad or Cooked Spinach
Meal #4:  Chicken and Pesto Paninis with Fruit Salad
Meal #5:  Sandwiches made with Leftover Frittata with Roasted Red Peppers on Baguette

And of course, since it's summer, I have to be honest and say that the other night we'll be having leftover pasta salad with sausages on the grill.  Pretty fancy here.  LOL.

Here are a few fun pics from our week...

Mama and her fawn right outside my house


Little Bean with her first fish - those little pink princess poles really work!
Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gardening Update and Pictures

I just got back from a mini vacation (sort of).  And I was finally able to get some pics of my new garden area.  My husband and I put in two new retaining walls and built three raised beds this spring.  The drippers are in and the seeds are sprouting.  I am a virgin gardener, so I am beyond excited.

There are no before pictures included here.  But, picture a bunch of dirt and weeds.  There you go, that's what we had before this.  We are on 10 acres, therefore there are no restrictions on our landscaping (or lack thereof).  Therefore, we have taken our sweet time with everything.

Here is a list of the different things that I planted:
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Green Peppers
  • Snap Peas
  • Green Onions
  • Tomatoes (4 varieties)
  • Potatoes - in ground (Blue and Yukon Gold)
  • Zucchini - in ground
  • Eggplant - in ground
  • Herbs (in pots - not pictured) - dill, chives, rosemary, basil, and thyme

This is a before picture of my next project.  I am going to be building a fire pit in the lower area here.  The tricky part:  our septic tank is below this area, so the covering has to be somewhat easy to remove since it needs to be pumped every three years.  I have some ideas that I am looking into for that.

And yes, off to the left, that is one very dead tree.  The gophers are responsible for that.  Not happy since that was a very expensive tree.  Grrrr....

And below is a picture of our psychotic hummingbird.  He perches at the top of said dead tree where he has an excellent view of our hummingbird feeder.  Anytime another hummingbird thinks of taking a sip, he swoops down and threatens them and they inevitably fly away.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pinterest Fever

There has been a lot being said about Pinterest in the blogosphere of late.  Now I know why.  It is an addiction.  I may soon need to enter a 12 step program.  So, here's the deal...you know how you come across a tutorial that you love and you save it in your favorites toolbar along with a hundred other tutorials that you love...then you never bother looking through them because it is overwhelming?  Then Pinterest is for you!

You can categorize all of those different "favorites" along with an image from the website...so you have a visual of all things at once.  How genius is that?  Here are a couple of examples that I have been playing with today.

This is on a pinboard of mine called "Things I Vow to Make."

The next one is my pinboard called "Good Food."  Strangely, there are mostly sweets on there.  Hmmm...

So, you can see that there are photos and links so when you are choosing your next meal, project, purchase, puppy, whatever, you can see them all side by side.  Amazing!

Here's the thing with Pinterest, you can only join by invitation.  If you would like me to invite you, please leave a comment with your email address or send me an email at littlebeanworkshop{at}hotmail{dot}com.  Don't blame me when you become an addict though!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A New Look

I decided to update my blogs appearance today.  We are having a terribly rainy, gloomy day and I wanted to see something fresh and crisp and reminiscent of summer.  So, here you have it.  A lime.  And you must be thinking, "wow Amy, where did you get those mad photo skills?"  As much as I would like to take credit, I cannot.  I found out about a website called morguefile.com that has free high resolution images to download.  Awe-some. 

I changed the font to a simple Courier style.  I really like things to be simple and tidy, so I went very simple and tidy.  Suits me perfectly. 

I am always visiting blogs where there are these very beautiful and fancy logos, layouts, etc. as the headers and I am always jealous.  Good thing for me that I am a minimalist, because I seriously lack the skills to do something like that.  Ha.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meal Plan 5/15 - 5/21 and Garden Update

Another gorgeous week here.  I have actually mowed my lawn twice already.  I have planted beets, carrots, potatoes (blue, yukon gold, and red norland) and spinach as well as dill, rosemary, and chives.  I am holding out until the weekend to plant the rest of my seeds and flowers.  I will probably wait until June 1st before I dare put in any tomatoes...but I'll just buy big plants that were raised in a greenhouse.  This is the first year that I have had a real garden (besides the odd flowers/veggies here or there), so I am really excited...and trying not to expect to much.

Before I can post any pictures of our progress with our retaining walls, raised beds, and fire pit area...I have to be able to get a truck in here to deliver gravel and bark.  However, our field was just plowed and getting a truck to the appropriate area will be a bit of a nightmare until the ground firms up.  I am dying to share though...but too embarrassed to post pics of dirt and weeds.

So, on with the meal plan.  A little shorter this week since we have a date night (sort of) planned and a restaurant night as well.

Meal #1:  Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Cheese Toasts (we had a rainy and cold day that this was perfect for)
Meal #2:  Garlic Lemon Chicken Kebabs and Artichokes with Lemon Butter (1/2 stick of butter and juice of 1/2 large lemon)
Meal #3:  Chicken Paprikash with Tossed Salad (grrrr, I can't find the link)
Meal #4:  Pad Thai with Tofu and Cucumber Salad (1/2 c. white vinegar, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt poured over sliced cucumbers)

Do you all have gardens started?  If so, what are you growing?  What is your most successful veg/fruit?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Meal Plan and Update 5/8 - 5/14

I have been a bad, bad blogger and seriously neglecting this little hobby.  The sun has finally made an appearance here in the Inland Northwest and I can't seem to bring myself indoors.  Not to mention we have 10 acres of property that need LOTS of attention.  As I have previously mentioned, we built some retaining walls and 3 large raised beds (do you have any idea how much dirt it takes to fill those up?  Yikes!).  We have been planting seeds, herbs, and I got my dahlias in the ground (finally!) yesterday.

So, given the lovely weather...the meal plan for the week completely reflects my laid back attitude.  That, and the number of evening commitments between me and my husband...I am not wanting to spend my time in the kitchen.

Meal #1:  Sauteed Sweet Chicken Breasts with Tomato Chutney (never got to it last week)
Meal #2:  Dinner in the park:  Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Mini Carrots and Strawberries
Meal #3:  Grilled Chicken Sausages with Potato Salad with Celery and Scallions (seriously, the BEST potato salad I have ever had...and it can be out in the heat too!)
Meal #4:  Slow Cooker Bean and Cheese Burrito Casserole with Steamed Corn and Guacamole
Meal #5:  Rotini with Pesto, Goat Cheese, Basil, Grape Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, and Yellow Squash (Delish! and so easy)

I hope you are all having a wonderful week and are enjoying similar weather!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meal Plan 5/1 - 5/7

The whole family did a 12K on Sunday (Bloomsday) followed by a few hours of intensive yard work (i.e. hauling dirt).  After a very last minute dinner of scrambled eggs and bagels, I came up with this meal plan - mostly from thumbing through my fave Rachael Ray cookbook.

Meal #1:  Black Bean and Chicken Enchiladas (sauce recipe here) with Steamed Corn
Meal #2:  Curried Chickpeas with Rice
Meal #3:  Spinach, Artichoke, and Egg Noodle Soup (based on a Rachael Ray recipe in 365: No Repeats)
Meal #4:  Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Spicy Tomato Chutney and Brown Rice
Meal #5:  Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Blue Cheese Dressing and Tossed Salad (again from 365: No Repeats)

Been busy lately putting in raised beds and retaining walls in the back yard.  Also getting ready to refinish some furniture and hopefully get to my sewing machine at some point.  Sorry for the lack of tutorials!

What are y'all eating this week?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meal Plan 4/24-4/30 and Easter Recap

Wow...long time, no blog.  I have been a little busy with other obligations and a little (make that a lot) uninspired.  However, I am back and have new ideas brewing in my head...hopefully some will come out as expected.

We had a great Easter...the Easter bunny came and was very generous...little Bean got to hunt for eggs at home and at Grandpa/Grandma's house.  Lucky girl.  We had some amazing weather which is a first for us in the inland northwest...it has been a cold, wet, and windy spring here.  Here are a few photos of our day...

Non-stop running all day

Love, love, love this pic

These bracelets were her favorite Easter gift!

Check out these shoes!!!

Cousins climbing a tree

What else is this thing for?
Okay, thanks for pretending that you care about my Easter :)

Now, here's the meal plan for the week:

Meal #1: (was supposed to be Easter dinner, but we were still too full from Easter brunch to eat):  Sauteed Chicken with a Lemon Buerre Blanc with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
Meal #2:  Penne with Eggplant Marinara and Feta Cheese
Meal #3:  Egg Salad Sandwiches (to use up all of those dyed eggs) with Tossed Salad
Meal #4:  Asian Chicken Salad (again) with Sesame Ginger Dressing (gotta use up all that dressing)
Meal #5:  Butternut Squash and Black Bean Winter Chili with Cornbread

Have a great week everyone!