Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Baby Beanie with a Bow, Homemade Pretzels, Vera Bradley Phone Sleeve, Beauty, Cleaning, and more.

This will be my  last post before I'm updated for the time being! Of course, check back again at the end of the week to see what I've been up to with my Pre-Summer Challenge.

I'll start with the craft I am most proud of for the time being.  I'm proud of it as in it took lots of time and turned out semi-acceptable, but I know this will still take lots of practice and I'm hoping to make many and donate them!

Knitted Baby Bow Hat from twentysomethinggrandma -

I'm so thankful that Jenna put this pattern on her blog.  Although I'm still getting the hang of purling (I think I've got it now), this is a very easy hat for beginning knitters and turns out adorable! I love that it's two colors... the possibilities are endless!



This beanie was similar to a few that I've made before, but the bow and the double color made it my favorite!


Vera Bradley Phone Pocket inspired by erinerikson


I didn't follow the tutorial on this site (honestly, I didn't even look at it), but I did use the picture for inspiration to make my own phone pocket.  This is perfect because I just got a new iPhone (my first!) and denied the $200 insurance.  I worry so much about my phone because most of the time it is in the bottom of my purse or school bag.  This pocket allows me to clip it somewhere safe and keeps the screen protected as well.  I made this from an old Vera Bradley bag that Logan was determined for me to get rid of.  I've been hoarding this bag after making a name tag lanyard last year.  This was the perfect time to use it!

To make this, I just cut out two rectangles of the quilted fabric that would fit the size of my phone. I then sewed them together front touching front on three sides (so it was inside-out).  Finally, I flipped it rightside-out and added a small piece of fabric with an keychain attached.


Cook Book Organization from abowlfulloflemons -

This is a quick and cute idea I took opportunity of to get my cookbooks out of a cabinet and all of the junk off the top of the fridge.  Display your cookbooks in a cute basket on top of the fridge!


Ribbon Organization from kreativejewels

I've tried so many ways to store my ribbon, and it's always such a pain! This was a perfect solution.  To do this, I just used large popsicle sticks/tongue depressers, wrapped the ribbon around each one (if I had two of the same ribbon I put them on the same stick), and secured it with a sewing pin.  It took a long time to wrap all that ribbon, but I really do love the way they are stored now! I just used a glass jar/vase I found at goodwill to store them.


New Styles!!

I've tried out a few different new styles in the past couple of weeks... here they are!

Jean shirt:  I got this shirt at Forever 21 and was inspired by one of their mannequins to wear it over my favorite maxi dresses to make them more work-friendly.  It is now one of my favorite staples and is SO comfy!

These are a few hairstyles I tried.  First, I played up my usual fishtail braid by doing it in the back with french twists to hold back my bangs and a bow to finish it up.  Here's the back:

This is a cute idea I got on the internet somewhere, but I can't find where.  To make a fuller, longer-looking pony tail, add a small clip to the middle of the pony, flipping up the upper layer.  This is a perfect way to change up my usual work-pony.


Glass Stovetop Cleaning from behindthestudio

This is an idea I've been meaning to try for some time, and finally got around to it this weekend.  The idea of this stove-cleaning technique is to sprinkle baking soda all over your stove, cover it with a hot, wet towel, and leave it for 30 minutes.  I wasn't greatly impressed by how this turned out and I would much rather use my store-bought stove cleaner.  Here are my pictures of the process:

This is my stove before I started anything:
 With baking soda:
 With the towel:
 After 30 minutes (the paste):
 After: (eh, not too spectacular)


Homemade Pretzels from fifteenspatulas

I was so excited to make these pretzels! They claimed to be as good as the ones from the mall (read: Auntie Ann's) and Logan and I are HUGE fans of Auntie Ann's.  Other than those butter-covered goodness pretzels from Auntie Ann's, I don't really like any other soft pretzels because I find them far too dry.  In my opinion, they were in-between the two; not as good as Auntie Ann's, but not as dry as the ballpark pretzels.  Logan and my two roommates loved them though!  Sorry they aren't as pretty as the pin... they were pretty easy to make though!

That's all for now! I'm collecting my challenge pictures from this week and I'm super excited to share them! 


Monday, April 22, 2013

Pre-Summer Challenge

So it's almost summer and I haven't been challenging myself enough to try new things lately.  I remember back to last February and the challenge that I did where I tried something new every day.  I've decided that I will do that challenge again, just because it was so much fun and really made the days go by faster! I can't explain it, but it did. We have 6 weeks left of school before the summer, so I've decided to do the challenge for 6 weeks until then.

Just a reminder, this is the challenge:

Mondays will be my new hairstyle day. Every Monday in February I will try a new hairstyle that I haven't done before.

Tuesdays will be my new outfit day. Every Tuesday in February will warrant a new outfit that I have never worn before. This doesn't mean going out and buying something new every Monday night, this means mixing and matching pieces in my massive closet with shoes and bags and accessories to create a look I haven't tried before.

Wednesdays will be my new recipe day. Every Wednesday I will try a recipe that I haven't tried before.

Thursdays will be my craft day, allowing myself to try [or start] a craft that is sitting on my to-do list.

Fridays will be my home day, when I will fix up something in my home according to all the ideas I have wanted to try.

Saturdays and Sundays will be my jumble days, where I might try a new cleaning trick or a new restaurant or a new movie that I haven't seen before.

Of course, I may be trying new things along the way, but this is the minimum of what I want to do.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

6 More Recipes: Sweet and Sour Cucumbers, Apple Snack, Roasted Summer Squash, Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Cake, Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice, Thin Mint Puppy Chow

Good Morning!

I have rounded up a few more recipes that I have tried this week.  Yes, this week. 5 recipes this week. *Round of applause*

Recipe 120 - Sweet and Sour Cucumbers from fitsugar

 This recipe was okay, but it really was just cucumbers in salt and vinegar in the end.  I wasn't completely wowed, but I ate it!


Recipe 121 - Apple Snack from letstalkfitness - 
This recipe combined pieces of apple with the juice from an orange and a lemon. It was pretty good, but again it didn't completely change the taste of the apples. In the end it tasted like apples soaked in orange and lemon juice.  I added a little more lemon than usual because I didn't just squeeze it out of a lemon, I used lemon juice out of a bottle. After I ate the apple, I tried the orange/lemon juice left in the bowl. It was pretty good! It would be a great cocktail mix :)


Recipe 122 - Roasted Summer Squash from TheGraciousPantry -
This was a simple recipe that was pretty good! It was very basic; chop up some zucchini and squash and make it with some seasoning. I do really enjoy cooked zucchini and squash, and I've learned that Logan won't touch it so this is a perfect recipe to keep all to myself!


Recipe 123 - Apple Yogurt Cake with a Cinnamon Sugar Streak from TheKitchn-

Oh. My. Goodness.
I know... you've been waiting for a recipe where I say more than 'eh'.  This is WAY more than 'eh'.  I'm not sure why I decided to make this recipe. I think it's a combination of just itching to make something, as well as having the majority of the ingredients on hand. The pinterest caption said that it took only 10 minutes to make, but this took me a good 20-30 minutes just to mix the ingredients together.  It was a pretty simple recipe, though... it was kind of like a dump cake where you just put everything in the same bowl and mix it together. For my version of this recipe, I left out the nutmeg (simply because I didn't have any) and I used half wheat flour (simply because I ran out of white).  I also doubled the cinnamon sugar mix that goes in the middle and put another layer on top.  It was SO GOOD!!! It was absolutely amazing right out of the oven, it was pretty damn good sitting out after a few hours, and it was okay refrigerated.  I didn't try it reheated.

 I brought half of the pan to work the next day. Usually when I do this, I still am bringing home leftovers. At the end of the day, I went in to have a piece of this cake and it was ALL GONE with a note demanding the recipe.

My roommates and I laughed as I tried to convince them this was a healthy recipe because it had apples in it, but as I thought about it it really wasn't that bad of a recipe.  There wasn't too much butter, though it was extremely moist.  It was all in the yogurt (I actually used greek yogurt instead of whole-fat). There wasn't too too much sugar... a cup of white in the cake and 1/2 cup of brown in the sugar mix.

This is definitely something I would *shock!* make again!


Recipe 124 - Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice from SouthernPlate-
Logan got his wisdom teeth out Friday night and we were having a hard time finding something for him to eat, so I made this mushy, easy-to-eat dish yesterday. Don't worry about him - he only got two teeth pulled; one was a regular extraction. This means he wasn't puffy, wasn't drugged, and pretty much didn't need me taking care of him. Some people get all the luck!

This recipe was pretty good! Logan really liked it, but then again I made it because it was his kind of recipe anyways.  We tried to make it a little healthier by using fat-free cheese and looking for healthier cream of chicken (fail).

To make this, you put some chicken breasts in the bottom of your crock pot, cover it with chopped onion, and add cream of chicken to the top of that.
Let it cook on high for 3-4 hours.  About 15 minutes before serving, add in yellow rice, canned corn, and cheddar cheese.
Mix it all together and eat!!!


Recipe 125 - Thin Mint Puppy Chow from YourCupOfCake - 
This was a last minute recipe I decided to grab the ingredients for when we were shopping in Target for the Cheesy Chicken dish. I always love puppy chow, and who DOESN'T like Thin Mints? Now, this recipe calls for Thin Mints. I'm sure you're wondering "How did she get her hands on a box of Thin Mints in April?".  Or perhaps you're wondering "Why would she use those delicious cookies in a recipe???"
The answer to that is: Grasshoppers.
Yes, I would be more than happy to use my thin mints from February in this recipe, but unfortunately my one box was devoured by my fiance. Without even offering me ONE. He just... ATE THEM ALL. Yes, I am bitter.
If you didn't know this already, Keebler makes Grasshopper Cookies that they sell year-round in every grocery store. They taste just like thin mints.
That's what I used for this recipe, and it was delicious.
It did make a TON of puppy chow though, and I have a feeling I will be pawning this dessert off on friends, family, coworkers, and students all week.

Those are all my recipes for now - but I've still got a day left in my weekend!

See you soon!!

<3 Amy

Saturday, April 20, 2013


This is a post about the other things I have done over the past few months that didn't fit into their own category. You know... 'etc...'   I'm excited to get caught up because of all the exciting things I have done this past week!!

I'll start with some Christmas gifts that I had forgotten to mention in my Christmas Gifts Post.  They were my secret Santa gifts for a coworker at school.

'Spot of Tea' card from spoonful:
My secret Santa recipient filled out a questionnaire that noted she enjoyed exotic teas. For one of her small gifts, I chose this 'Spot of Tea' card.  To make this, I drew a tea cup on a piece of scrapbook paper and cut out two pieces. I glued the pieces together and added a tag.  Inside the tea cup, I added a few herbal tea flavors for her to enjoy.  

School Pride Rag Wreath:
I have made many of these rag wreaths before, such as this Gator Rag Wreath for my brother. I decided that for a bigger gift at the end of the week, my secret Santa recipient could receive a little school pride in the form of her own school wreath. To make this, I used scraps of fabric from shirts that were the same color as our school's color (red and navy), plumbing piping from Home Depot for the skeleton of the wreath, wooden letters from Michael's, chopsticks as support for the letters, and red ribbon.  Oh, and lots and lots of hot glue.

Wedding Wreath - This is another wedding wreath I made for an Elementary School's friend's bridal shower.  Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the bridal shower because I was in Europe, but I made sure my mom sent this on its way.  I had made a similar wreath for my friend Tiffany's bridal shower last year, but this one is a little more personalized. To make this, I used that same plumbing piping from Home Depot, along with a lot of white yarn, black yarn, blue and orange scrap fabric for the flowers (they are both Gators), wooden game pieces from Michael's for the people, wooden letters from Michael's, a wooden dog from Michael's, and adorable 3D stickers (Jolee's?) that went with their personalities for extra decoration. 

Tissue Paper Flower from Michael Ann Made- This is just a cute little flower made out of tissue paper that is perfect for the top of a gift.  This is a birthday gift for my friend Meredith (it was a handmade wedding book) that the flower was perfect on top of!

Ring Holder from Saucy Pants
I made this ring holder for my brother's fiance, my future sister-in-law, for Christmas this year.  I figured it was perfect because I remember seeing her ring sitting on the sink in their bathroom when we were visiting them in Boston in October.  Unfortunately, my brother also saw it and a conversation ensued in which he asked her  not to put that ring so close to the drain and she explained that she had to take it off to put hair product in. In the end, I made her this ring holder:

Soon after Christmas, I was engaged.  Although I haven't taken my ring off that often thus far, I do usually take it off when I'm baking and need to get my hands involved.  When I did take it off, I would always yell, "Rings on the counter, Not my fault if they get lost!!!". Logan and Kelly would always laugh and say it would still be my fault. It was all fun and games until Logan cleaned up the kitchen one day and moved my rings to a placemat on the kitchen table - one that made my rings blend in nicely.  A 5-minute heart attack later, I had decided to make myself a little gift.

I found these mini frames at Michael's in the bargain bin for a dollar each.  To make these, I took out the back of the frame, cut a piece of cork board to fit, and hot glued it all together.  I then added a push pin (I was too lazy to dig for mini nails) and glued a gem to the end.  Now, I have one by the sink, one in the bathroom, and one tucked away for whenever I may need to use it or gift it next.

Clean/Dirty Dishwasher Magnet from Etsy - This project has been sitting on my 'To Do ASAP' board on pinterest for about a year. I've had the supplies, I've had the time, I just haven't gotten around to it.  Finally, I sat down and made it in about 5 minutes, and it has already been used many times!  To make this magnet, I found a scrabble game at goodwill.  I found the letters I needed and hot-glued them in the pattern shown to the back of a piece of cardboard. I then cut the cardboard down and glued a magnet to the back.  Now, when the dishes are dirty, it says dirty, but when we run the dishes we turn the magnet back around to clean.

Storybook Roses from pinterest - I loved the look of these storybook roses on pinterest and they looked easy enough to make.  They did take a lot of time, but they were pretty easy to make. Unfortunately, the directions aren't too specific, detailed, and user-friendly so mine didn't turn out quite as beautiful... but I tried!

Some other crafts/things that I tried but didn't get a picture of:

DIY Fridge Mats from pinterest - I made similar mats for the fridge after Michael's had a crazy scrapbook paper sale and I bought all kinds of thick, plastic scrapbook paper I had no other use for.  This makes our fridge look pretty and will make it easier to clean.

Refill your Swiffer Sweeper from lifehacker - This trick has changed my life! To refill your swiffer sweeper bottle, just boil the lid and twist it off with a towel. You are able to refill it with whatever floor cleaner you have on hand, and put the lid back on. Just like new! My roommate was shocked and slightly impressed when he saw what I had done.

That's all I have for now! I did see a few things that I never took a picture of but wanted to share my own version of, so I'll get those pictures this weekend and share them in the next post. I'm getting closer and closer to getting caught up!!

<3 Amy