Monday, January 6, 2014

Conquering Gluten Free, one recipe at a time...

Recently celebrating my one year gluten free anniversary, I look back on what I miss the most.  Without missing a beat, my answer would be sandwiches {on white squishy bread} and flaky pastry.  Not gonna lie, I crave sweets.  All day.... every day...  it's my thing.  I only get them once every couple of days, but when I do - you can be sure I make them count ;-)  When I came across these brownies from Six Sisters Stuff, they reminded me of my favorite cookie as a kid.  The chocolate marshmallow frosted cookies at the mall.  I would ride the bus there with friends, and spend my allowance on the chocolatey goodness.  I can still taste the frosting... melted in your mouth!  I knew they would be fairly easy to convert to gluten free, since my favorite gluten free flour mix makes one tasty brownie already...  here is the recipe I followed, and let me just tell you... This might possibly be the best thing I ever ate... gluten free, or otherwise...  for realzzzz y'all!!








Fudge Brownies: {adapted from Namaste Foods}
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
1/4 tsp baking soda

Melt butter in the microwave, pour into mixing bowl.  Add cocoa, mix on medium for 1 minute.  Mix in sugar.  Blend in eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Add flour in small amounts, mixing as you go.  Add baking soda.  Mix until combined.  Spread in greased 8x8 pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cool.  Cover with gluten free marshmallow cream to taste.  Top with chocolate frosting, recipe as follows:

Chocolate frosting: {adapted from Six Sisters Stuff}
1 stick butter {1/2 cup}, softened
1/4 cup milk
1-2 tsp vanilla, depending on your taste
3 TBS cocoa
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients in your mixer until smooth.  Adjust the powdered sugar, or milk ratio based on your desired consistency.  Spread on top of brownies.    

To serve, shall we just add: slice or just eat the whole pan with a spoon!!??!!  You won't be able to tell the difference between gluten or gluten free on this one, and you won't be baking from a box either...  Now go!!!  And experience the yum..................................

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Winter neutrals....

The time has come.... time to tear down all the beauty that we have built over the Christmas season in our homes...  Such an arduous task...  and a depressing one at that.  But I know I will see all those pretties again in another year...  As soon as I took down all the decorations, my hubby says to me, "it looks really plain in here now..."...  Oh...  no... you... didn't.... Did you just say plain??!!  Oh, well... I'm right on that then ;-)  I have been wanting to neutralize around here and clear out the decorative clutter for a while now.  So his words were all I needed to get my "winter neutral decorating" on...




I started with making a couple of wreaths that I have wanted to make for years now.  All free stuff from around my house and crafty stash.  They aren't hard per say, and I won't bore you with yet another 'bookpage wreath' or 'coffee filter wreath' tutorial... since there is a million of them on Pinterest.  But I will show mine off with pride and joy... Because these things are the most tedious boring projects you will ever make, I swear.... but well worth the effort I think.  I adore them!





















I paired up some neutral items from around the house and now it looks decorated around here, but not too cluttered.  I think by keeping the colors neutral, it all blends really well and fits the 'baby it's cold outside' thing we have going on here in Texas right now...














I love how uncluttered and pretty it looks in here... I may have to stick with this all year..... Mwahaahaahaa.... who am I kidding??!!  Valentine's Day is just a month away for Pete's sake.. and you know Imma be alllllll over that ;-)  So don't despair when you clean up your Christmas clutter.  Just go around the house and pair up some stuff that all kind of blends in neutrals, and make a lovely vignette or two...  Happy decorating y'all!!!

Christmas Crafting....

I was able to squeeze in a few projects this month...  not as many as my usual Crazy Christmas Crafting... I had some major surgery in November, and have just been focusing on recovering slowly.... I was blessed with a sweet and loving hubby and kiddos to take care of me, and treat me like a princess while I was recovering...  <3 nbsp="" p="">



I altered some flour sack towels with an iron on image from my Silhouette library and sewed on some cute accents...  




I covered some plain clothespins with some washi tape in holiday styles to hold my Christmas cards...





I recreated a cookie sheet advent calendar using what I had on hand that Katie Watson had made for Maya Road a few years back...  I have always wanted to make one, so checked it off the list... 














I took time to make snuggle time special with stove-top hot cocoa like my mom used to make me...  brings back sweet childhood memories for me...  

And that's it in the crafty department.  I didn't even send out cards this year, which makes me sad.  But one thing the last year of poor health has taught me is patience.  Patience to let go of the things that I cannot accomplish any longer or just simply cannot find the energy to do.  Hope you all had many crafty therapy sessions over the holidays....  because crafty therapy is important ;-)


3rd year is the charm ;-)

This is our 3rd Christmas in our rental home.  I did not think we would rent this long, this is the longest I have rented since I was a teenager.  Our reasons for renting are many, and I won't bore you with all the details.  But it boils down to this...  I have never found "the one" whenever our lease was up for renewal.  You have such a small window of opportunity to put in an offer on a home, versus renewing your lease.  It is a viscous circle and a game that I hate playing.  But I hate to spend 200K on something that I feel rushed into buying even more.  So, here we are.  Renting this builder basic rental home for another year.  Our living room is quite precarious and not user friendly at all.  When I say not user friendly, I mean designed by someone who obviously did not own furniture more than like a futon.  It is an impossible great room with 3 exits from the room and an open/ half wall on one side.  I know what you are thinking right now... better you than me, right?!  So yes, it is a humdinger to figure out where on earth the Christmas tree will go every year.

This year, I actually moved furniture to squeeze in our {pathetic tiny fake} Christmas tree.  Hold up now!  These assaulting words are valid on my part you see... if I am at eye level with my Angel topper, and it takes me several hours just to "fluff" the branches, well there you go...  I miss real trees....  but we just won't go there with wasting money like that since we moved to Texas.  The trees here are not like the ones we would tromp miles in the snow to cut down when we lived in the PacNW.  They are just different.  So we don't.  Hence the artificial tree.  I lived 38 years of my life with real trees, so having a fake tree is taking some getting used to.  I have had it in 3 different locations here in this house:













And this has got to be my favorite spot.  I loved having the stockings nearby, especially since our Texan home does not have a fireplace {which is pure blasphemy if you ask me!}.  Yes, the poor tree gets squished into corner.  But on the upside, you really don't have to over decorate the backside much... {haha!!!!! backside!} ....





Easy burlap stockings paired up with random letters I had on hand.




The ornaments that I added to my stash this year were just letters and some vintage metal stars.  I like having everyone's initials on the tree.























Changed up how I displayed my Grandmother's passed down vintage ornaments this year.  I think they look great this way.  And I found these tiny vintage light bulbs at a local antique store for $10!  They went right into my old gumball machine.  I added an EAT sign that I made {just painted letters glued to the glass front of a detailed frame.  The back side of the frame is covered with chevron fabric.}  {There's that 'back side' again... at least I used a space this time.... lol}...






Went to town on the banister this year...  Got this sweet red meshy stuff at Costco for a steal... $9 for two huge rolls.... I only used one roll for both sides of the banister... that stuff goes really far!  I was able to grab these vintage knit stockings at a local antique mall for $3 each.... I couldn't believe the price on them, it was like she was giving them away!










Found some old ice skates at The Goodwill over the last year, loved decorating with them.  



















Some other vintage touches I added to the place..........































An old tray from Goodwill with some holiday picks and an ornament... easy peasy...  




This wreath may not survive another year... I have had to paint the Styrofoam berries like 5 times because they keep falling apart and breaking off.  But it works, so I keep doing it...  





Overall, I didn't spend much to 'upgrade' my Christmas goodies this year.  Just decided to use them in different ways to more suit my style.  I think my house looked the best it has ever looked this year, so 3rd year is the charm ;-)  Hugs and  hope your Christmas was filled with blessings and beauty :-)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dr. Who Inspired boy's bedroom on a budget...

Dr. Who... ever heard of it?  Not the 1960's version.. the version airing on the BBC this decade?  My boys are obsessed...  They would watch it for hours if I let them...  so they decided they wanted a Dr. Who inspired bedroom, which I naturally had nothing to decorate with...  So I decided not to go over the top with it, and just add a few elements that would relate to the show... As it turns out, we had several items that would actually work.  Like a time traveler book, a globe {to signify traveling all over the world}, a Titanic bell {for the episode with a Titanic themed space ship}, and some oversized chess pieces {for the episode with the deadly game of chess}, and several Dr. Who screwdrivers in our stash.  The rest, I would have to figure out.


  • So I purchased items like prints off etsy, Union Jack flags from amazon, Dr. Who lamp from ThinkGeek.com, a starry night print off amazon.com, and two Union Jack pillow covers.  
  • I upcycled and painted existing 8x10 frames for the Dr. Who characters prints all red to unify them, and added some ribbon loops for hanging.  The prints were purchased from an etsy artist, who offered buy two, get one free on his work. So around $10 for those... 
  • My husband was kind enough to build me two large 2x3 frames, which I distressed with the vaseline technique.  We just stapled the flags to the back, and added picture hanging hardware.  That project cost us a total of $11 {$6 for the flags, and $5 for basic pine molding at Home Depot}.  
  • The lamp was a splurge, at around $50, but it was well worth it.  It makes the Tardis noise when you open the little doors on the front, so cool!  
  • Pillow covers purchased from etsy, {$12 each}.  Then I just ripped open old flat yucky throw pillows and stuffed the new Union Jack ones with that stuffing.  I always save old throw pillows for this purpose specifically because pillow inserts are at least $10 each... EACH!!!  So, old stuffing it is!
  • I used the star pillow cases that we had already, and flipped our quilt comforter over to reveal a plain light blue side.  {It is the sports themed quilt from Target}...  


















So overall, I spent less than $100 to update my boy's bedroom using existing supplies that related to the theme, and items I had around the house.  If you are looking to "theme-ify" a room, just group things together to see if you can come up with a theme, and work from there.  You might be surprised at what you can find and display from your belongings.  Happy decorating ya'll!!!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rainy days and Mondays....

Soooooo excited for everyone in our household to have a 3 day weekend.... While we had originally planned to do something out of town or travel for fun, we have been hit with the Texas rain.... so at home we stay.  There has been tons of flooding, and we got 8 inches overnight just in our little town alone!  I'm telling ya'll, the rain here is NO joke!  But it did give us time to relax at home as a family, and for me to be productive.

So I have had a 'nice' bathroom here in this rental home for the last 2 1/2 years.  I say nice because it was decorated nicely, but has ugly dusty metal miniblinds {our lovely rental home}, and a glass shower from hell...{so much time is spent cleaning that thing!}.  So I found a lovely curtain rod at the Goodwill like 2 years ago, and I begged and begged my husband to put it up for me... He finally did... like a year ago...  A couple of days ago he made the comment, "Boy, I'm sure glad I was in such a hurry to get your curtain rod up!!!?!!"... Yep, I got the hint.  But my retort was, "Well, aren't you just as glad that I haven't spent any money on a lovely curtain just yet??".... Yep, I am pretty good with the comebacks ;-)  But it got me thinking, and I had saved a pic of a valance that I wanted from ebay.  It was burlap with some white ruffles, perfect for my little space.  The price was $40 after shipping... yes, $40 for 30 inches of burlap and a scrap of muslin sewn on.  Soooo, you know I'm not having that....

I quickly got to work on cutting and ironing some burlap from my stash.  Seriously, I must have paid like $6 for several yards, and I have used this stuff at least 100 times.... I highly recommend having some on hand for crafty projects.  So I had an old bed sheet that I was going to rip up to make cute white twisty flowers for a winter wreath... which I will definitely do soon... but it was perfect to rip a nice 4 inch scrap from for my ruffle.  I folded over and ironed the cut raw edges of the burlap, and then tacked them down with Fabri-tac.  I find this stuff works wonders with burlap, as I have not had much luck with sewing burlap.  I used the finished edge of the burlap for the bottom, and folded over the top and tacked with the Fabri-tac.  The size that you fold over would depend on the size of rod that you are sliding it onto.  You can also use the little clips that slide over the rod, but I don't find the burlap to lay very nicely with that technique.  I sewed the ruffle first with a hand stitch down the center, pulling and gathering as I went.  Stretched it out, fussed with the ruffles, and then Fabri-tac'd it only at the sewn section.  I did that so that the ruffled part was more prevalent.  I just love how it turned out, and I am so glad that this was a FREE project using my stash...















I also had time to do a little painting and put together this eat sign for the holidays.  I love red in my kitchen at Xmas, and I have always wanted to buy one of the big vintage looking EAT signs...  Unfortunately, I am too cheap to buy one...  couple that with the fact that there isn't one inch of free room on my walls in the dining room for this...  So I figured out that I could mount my letters to a lovely frame, back it with a nice fabric, and use it to cover up some of the ugly tile on our back splash {again, our lovely rental home}.  Sweet, tackling 2 things on that...  yes ;-).......  So I added some glossy accents to my letters because two of the letters where plywood, and had a very splintery finish.  So I wanted to unify the finish on them all, hence the glossy coat.  I love this project, and I can always change out the fabric if I want...  The letters are glued to the front of the glass, and the fabric is tacked on to the frame backing...  I love this project so!!  All items were from my crafty stash, so no money spent to make it {at this time}.  I had purchased an alphabet set to alter and put on my kids homework room wall.... but my boys are 11 now, and I don't think they would appreciate such a juvenile adornment to their room..  so I split up all the letters and figured out what I could use them all for.  So far, I have a 'grow' sign, and 'eat' sign, and several other projects in the works.  You can actually do a lot with only 1 of each letter in the alphabet...  Just gotta get creative with it ;-) 

















                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Well, I hope you all took a little time for some crafty therapy over this long weekend... It was either that, or organizing... and who wants to do that, when these gorgeous projects are on your list?!                         Happy Crafting!!!!


Linking to Tatertots and Jello, and Inspire Me Please ...  Tons of beautiful ideas on both these pages, check them out!!!