Monday, July 21, 2014

Napkin Throw Pillows

I've been wanting some new throw pillows for my living room.  But if you've looked at them lately, you know they are NOT inexpensive items.  Eeeep!  That doesn't sit well with my thrifty little soul.  So I have been planning to make some covers for the existing ones or just start all over from scratch. 

Then one day at World Market I saw some pretty cream and gray napkins on clearance.  As I was thinking how they would go so well with my living room decor and how sad it was that I didn't have a dining table in the living room (ha!) - an idea slowly dawned.  

I knew my pillows were about 18" square.  And hmmm... the napkins are about 20" square.  You see this coming don't you?  

I picked up 4 of those pretty napkins. Along with a set of plain gray napkins.  And made a quick stop at the craft store for some gray thread. 

Using a tiny hand stitch I started sewing one of each napkin together around the edges.  Yes... in hind sight, I probably could have popped them on the sewing machine and gotten this part done much quicker.  

And here you have it!  Brand new, beautiful throw pillows. 

When the cost of my supplies is totaled up - each one cost me less than $5.  And for me, that just makes them even better!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Frozen Cherries!!!!

I have amazing news!!...

If you love cherries as much as I do then you agree that this is a wonderful time of year. We can buy cherries without taking out a second mortgage. Today, I bought 3 pounds of cherries for only $6.99 at Costco and then when I went to Kroger they were only $2.99 per pound. It's like Christmas in July!!

I have even more amazing news!!...

 I discovered an even better way to enjoy delicious cherries. I bought this handy cherry (and olive) pitter at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $12.99 and used one of my 20% off coupons. Also, did you know that the paper coupons they send in the mail, or you find in the newspaper don't expire?!? You can also use one for every item you buy. So, if you have five items, you can use five coupons, expired or not. The ones they email you do expire, so remember to use those first. Anyway, I ended up getting my cherry pitter for only $10.39 and I have already used it a ton. I just pit all of the cherries and put them in a zip top bag. It makes eating cherries so much more enjoyable!!

If it's possible a have even way more amazing news!!...

If you love frozen sweet treats, you can freeze these pitted cherries and they become a tasty, cool treat. You have to give it a try. I am so addicted!! Mmmmmmm!! Delicious!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

S'mores go Indoors

I love s'mores.  Love.  It's the smokey campfires I can do without.  But there's a solution to that problem - make your s'mores... indoors!

Lay out graham crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow.

Yum... I could start eating right now... but the best is yet to come!

Place baking sheet in oven set to Broil. I don't time this - just watch until the marshmallows puff up a little and then...

get all nice and toasty on top!  Remove from oven.  Now, you could eat them just like this.

But I like to top them off with another graham cracker , making a nice little s'more sandwich.

So delicious!  And soooo easy!  I think we'll be making these a lot this summer!
What's your favorite summer-time treat?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun & Colorful Terracotta Pots

These pots are so fun for your patio, deck, or even your kitchen windowsill!! I wanted some cute pots for my herbs and everything I found, either did not match my colors on my patio, or were ridiculously expensive. Of course, being the crafty gal I am, I knew this was a challenge for m!. With a little research,  a few Terracotta pots, some polyurethane, and some paint, I created these gems. They are surprisingly simple and take so little of your time. And, of course, you can paint them for herbs, like I did, or for flowering and seasonal plants. Imagine a cute Poinsettia in a Christmas pot for yourself, or as a gift. The possibilities are endless!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Terracotta pots in the size/s of your choice
  • Terracotta saucers to fit your pots
  • Polyurethane or Thompsons Water Sealer
  • Acrylic paints in your choice of colors (you can find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby in brands like FolkArt or Martha Stewart)

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Allow your pots to sit somewhere to completely dry and get that pale, chalky look. 
  •  Next, paint the inside of your pots and the inside of the bottom of your saucers with the polyurethane. Allow to completely dry and then apply a second coat. 
  •  After they are completely dry, choose the color of acrylic paint and pattern of your choice and get busy painting the outside of your pots and the saucers. Don’t be afraid to try out polk-a-dots or maybe some chevron stripes! I painted the main part of my pots, and the saucers black and the rim a mossy green. **NOTE** Don’t forget to paint the inside of your pot at the top…this will be still visible after you’ve potted your plant. 
  •  Next, after your paint has completely dried, apply a coat of polyeurethene. This step is optional depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. I was going for a chalkboard paint look,  so I skipped this step. Also, for my final step, I used a white paint pen to write the name of the herb. You can also just use chalk but remember if your herbs will be outside the chalk will most likely wash away.
 I love the way these turned out and plan on doing more with much larger pots for a few container gardens. I'd love to see pictures of your creations. Have fun!!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sunshine Cake

Growing up, this was one of those cakes that we begged our mom to bake for us. We called it Refrigerator Cake, but more commonly I see it referred to as Sunshine Cake. I like that name better, because sunshine makes me happy, and so does this delicious cake! I only have a picture of a single slice, because my family excitedly cut into it, and there wasn't much left by the time I got around to snapping a pic. Yes, it's that good! Enjoy!!

Sunshine Cake

Cake Ingredients:

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
4 Eggs
2/3 Cup Melted Butter
14 oz Can Mandarin Oranges

Frosting Ingredients:

16 oz Tub Cool Whip
20 oz Can Crushed Pineapple
1 Large Box Instant Vanilla Pudding


1. Mix eggs, juice from oranges and cake mix until blended.
2. Add melted butter and blend with mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed. I add the butter as a second step, so the heat doesn't scramble the eggs.
3. Add oranges and blend an additional minute to grind them up. There will still be very small pieces of orange in the batter.
4. Divide batter evenly into two round cake pans.
5. Bake according to temperature and directions on cake mix package or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
6. Let cool completely, and remove from pans.

For the frosting:

1. Empty tub of cool whip into a large bowl.
2. Fold in vanilla pudding mix and crushed pineapple, including the juice, until everything is well blended.
3. Once cake is completely cooled - trust me on this one - don't try to frost if it is even a little warm as it will melt your frosting. I almost lost the top layer to my over-eagerness last time I made this. - frost the bottom layer, then add second layer and give it a nice thick layer of frosting all over!
4. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. 4-8 is even better if you can wait that long!

**You can also make this as a sheet cake, but the layers provide more delicious frosting per bite!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Balsamic Glazed Green Beans with Mushrooms

I am so in love with these green beans that I would eat them every night if I thought my husband would be okay with that, and the funny thing is, he just might be!!! They are SO delicious and even better, they only take 10 minutes to cook.

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces green beans (the original recipe calls for fresh, but I use frozen and just thaw and dry them first)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallots, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
8 oz mushrooms

Combine 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (save the 2 teaspoons for later) and sugar.  Heat a pan over high heat for 2 minutes and then add the oil once the pan is hot.  After a few seconds add the green beans, mushrooms, garlic and shallots.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add the ¼ cup of water.  A few seconds later add the vinegar and balsamic vinegar mixture.  Stir the mixture, and with the lid ajar, cover and cook until the green beans are tender.  If the water evaporates before the green beans are tender, add small amounts until they are tender, yet crunchy.  Stir in the remaining balsamic vinegar.  Add the butter and allow to melt.  Serve immediately. Serves 4.
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