April 28, 2011

Pick Me! Pick Me! Living Room Makeover!!

Mandi from Vintage Revivals is having an AMAZING giveaway contest where she will go to the winner's house and help them completely re-do a room!




I REALLY, REALLY Need some help with my living room! (well my whole house really...)
I have a couple of ideas for every other room in my house but when it comes to the living room I'm always Stuck!
I don't know what to do to change it.
I guess I will just show you the pictures so you can see what I mean.
The only real furniture in our living room are our couches we got almost 6 years ago, the rocking chair I just painted and a cluttered desk I took out of my bedroom which is now tucked in a corner
of my living room.

I took a couple of cool panoramic photos for you all to view and really get a feel of what
I am talking about. Please excuse the poor lighting I took these at night obviously :)

View From Dinning Room:

View From Bedroom:


View From Wall:

I have actually tried decorating this space myself as you can see, I added some color with pillows,
bought curtains from Ikea and hung some artwork and now I am stuck!

Let's get down to the nitty gritty, these pictures speak for themselves:
(with some help from my new photoshop program YAY!)




A close up of the fireplace,
those patches have been there for about 2 years now...


But the thing I really dislike and don't know what to do with in my living room is this:


This picture is much brighter since I took it this morning. 
I didn't even bother cleaning it up so you can see how we actually use it.
I guess it was intended to be used for a tv but I really, really, REALLY 
don't like it! It is just where we put all of our junk, movies and more junk!

So there you have it, this is why I would LOVE for Mandi to come over to my house
and help me figure out how to decorate, paint and style my living room!

I will be asking for your votes some time soon! :)
In the meantime could you give me some ideas? What would
you do with my cubby hole nightmare?



Satin Ribbon & Bead Necklace


As you probably already know from my bracelet post I don't buy myself a lot of jewelry. 
I love long necklaces and I used to wear them a lot until I discovered how much both of my kids (when they were babies) loved them too and would show their love by sucking or yanking
 on them. I got rid of most of my necklaces then which I regret now because my kids are
 older now and can walk and run, they don't want to be carried anymore which means they don't use my necklaces as toys anymore. I've been seeing lots of cute necklaces at stores and 
online and I thought "I can make that" so I did! I actually already had the supplies I needed for this one and it really took less than 5 minutes! Here is a picture I got as inspiration from Google:

  This necklace is from this website. It is on sale for £13 which is about $19 
That is way too much for me! After all I am a cheap thrifty! Plus I already had cheap white beads from a necklace I had, satin ribbon I took off of some little tin cans I bought at Target and some leftover hemp or I don't even know what material it is to string the beads on. Here is what I had to work with:


...and here are my daughter's cute little hands grabbing at my things
 this is the reason I usually craft at night..


I moved my crafting to my desk and began threading the beads leaving enough room at both ends to knot at the end and to knot together with the ribbon:


All I did was tie a knot together with the string and ribbon and then another knot with the ribbon to cover up my previous knot, cut off the excess and my necklace was done! Does that make sense? probably not..  Maybe you can get it by just looking at the picture, it really is very simple!
Here is my new pretty necklace...


I really love how it turned out! it is simple just like me :) hmm.. I've noticed I've been
creating a lot of white things lately! I will try and create my next project with a little more color!
Well... we are painting our guest room furniture white so I don't know about my next project
but I will have to think of some colorful project to make soon before I start boring you
with my simple white colored projects!

anywho... I am always rambling off! 
Let me know if you try this or if you have done something similar
I would love to see what you come up with!


April 27, 2011

Blessed Graphic Design


Before entering Blog World I used to design banners for Etsy Shops. I Loved it! Unfortunately my PC broke and my photoshop program wasn't for my Mac. When I started my blog it was a challenge to design it without using photoshop. I found GIMP for Mac and used it to make the header, background & buttons I had on my blog at first. Gimp is ok, if you don't have photoshop this program could be useful, but I still missed my photoshop so I finally got photoshop for my Mac on Ebay! (yes I'm addicted to Ebay) and now my Etsy Shop is up and running again! I am slowly creating new designs for Etsy & Blogger. You can visit my Etsy Shop by clicking HERE. I will also be posting my blog designs HERE for my awesome readers to view as I come up with them. IF I ever reach 100 followers (I wish!) I would love to giveaway a whole Custom Etsy, Blog & Business Package which would include EVERYTHING you will ever need for your Etsy Shop, Your Blog & Your Business.

I am very excited that I have photoshop again! I just wanted to share with you all, I've been busy busy working on new designs but in between designing, cleaning, cooking, picking up, changing diapers & such I made a pretty necklace that I will share with you tomorrow :)

We also have plans to finally start painting the guest room furniture this week so hopefully we can finish that room completely sometime soon since the kitchen is looking like it will take a couple months to completely be finished because it is expensive to remodel a kitchen. Why didn't anyone tell us? lol I am very thankful I even have a kitchen and will have to be patient until it is completely finished and you will too because it looks like there will be no after pictures of the kitchen any time soon!

Back to my Shop, I am offering a 25% off to my readers if you buy any of my designs! 
Use Coupon Code: CINSARAH to get your 25% off discount when purchasing on Etsy 
Valid Now until May  2
That means that you can get an $18 Blog set for $13.50! 
or a $5 Etsy Banner for $3.75! 
or why not get the $25 Etsy & Blog Bundle for $18.75!!

So go and tell your friends! :)

April 26, 2011

Easy Spinach & Cheese Lasagna

Every recipe I share here on my blog is easy peasy. I only share recipes that I've tried and LOVE and are worth sharing. This recipe is no exception. I always thought lasagna was one of the hardest foods to make so I never even gave it a chance until I came upon this recipe from Whole Foods. I will NEVER buy Stouffers again! 


Yes, (if you already clicked on the WF link) I did steal the picture from the Whole Foods website! Why? Because when I made this for dinner last week, even though I have made it many times before, I forgot to buy extra mozzarella cheese for the top layer of my lasagna and my lasagna didn't turn out as pretty as this one. It tasted just the same without the top cheese part but in order to convince you to try this recipe you have to see their picture not mine. :)

INGREDIENTS 


I bought all of my ingredients at Whole Foods but you can use your local grocery store brands. 

2 cups ricotta cheese 
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated 3-cheese blend, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten 
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed, chopped and drained well 
Salt and pepper to taste 
2 teaspoons dried oregano 
1 (25-ounce) jar pasta sauce
9 to 12 no-boil uncooked lasagna noodles

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Make sure to drain your spinach well first before mixing with other ingredients:




In a large bowl mix ricotta, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the 3-cheese blend, egg, spinach, salt, pepper and oregano:


 In another bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup 3-cheese blend. Set both bowls aside. In a 9- x13-inch non-reactive baking pan, layer 1 cup of the sauce, then a layer of noodles and a layer of the ricotta-spinach mixture; repeat.


break your pasta pieces to fit into your pan:



Top with sauce then sprinkle with remaining cheeses. (This is the part I forgot)
Pour 1 cup water around the edges of pan, then cover with parchment paper, then very tightly with foil. 
(I didn't have parchment paper so I used foil then I placed my glass lid on top)
Bake 1 1/4 hours, then set aside to let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

It really is that easy! I have been married for almost 6 years and I am still learning to cook!
This recipe is now one of my favorites. 
Let me know if you give it a try, I would love to hear if you liked it...or not. 

April 21, 2011

One Shoulder Polka Dotted Top

I had initially bought this fabric to use as a contrast for my daughter's birthday dress but when the fabric arrived (purchased on Etsy) it didn't really match with the fabric I already had. Then I remembered I had seen and loved this tutorial on Prudent Baby's website on a one shoulder dress and thought "I should totally make that!" except I only had half a yard of fabric so instead of a dress I "tried" making a one shoulder top and I do mean "tried" because it didn't come out to be exactly as I thought it would. Agh! I didn't cut the ruffled strip on top in the right size so I kind of messed that part up and I was about to give up but thought it might just look cute enough without the strip. And as I am still not a sewing pro some of the stitching is crooked, particularly under the straps area so what did I do? I made a rosette (yes another one!) and used a safety pin so it would not be permanent in case my little miss decides to yank it off just like she did with the tank dress I made. So here is what her little one shoulder top looks like:


Here is a close up:


I showed the top to my husband and the first thing he said was "another rosette! you really love rosettes don't you?" lol I rosetted him out when I made my rosette pillow, and then again when I added a rosette to the tank dress. I guess I do love rosettes, they are both easy and fun to make! So, the top was not exactly what I envisioned but it's pretty cute if I do say so myself. I am just glad I didn't waste this fabric and got some good use out of it. Now I have made a total of two clothing items for my daughter yay! I am on my way to creating a wardrobe! I know I am a dreamer! Making this top was a little frustrating I'm not gonna lie but I am a newbie and hopefully with time it won't be so frustrating and hopefully one day I will get  a new sewing machine, and a serger, and a cute little organized space with all of my materials and machines for sewing and crafting. Ahhh There I go dreaming again...

So what do you think about the one shoulder top? rosette or no rosette? 
Are you a big fan of rosettes like me?

Linking up these parties Here

April 20, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired Top- Wandering Wake Tank

While looking through the Anthropologie website I saw this cute tank called the Wandering Wake Tank and instead of spending $48 (not that I ever would on a tank!) I thought I would give it a shot and make something similar myself like I have seen many other awesome bloggers do.


So here is what I had, an old simple and stained white tee that is very comfy but not exactly wear out of the house material:


I had leftover scraps from the other white tee I used for my bracelets to use for my overlapping 
layers. I could have used my sewing machine but since it was late at night, I didn't want to wake the kids up and use the noisy thing so I stitched it up by hand so it is not perfect. 

I began by laying out layers and cutting them to fit my tee, then pinning each layer and sewing the edges up. I stuck a manila envelope in between to keep from sewing the shirt together. 


... and here is the final product:


I put my layers on the opposite side to cover up the stains the shirt had. I didn't want my layers to ruffle so much like the anthropologie top, I was going for something a little more easy simple to do.
Here is my top next to the anthropologie top for you to compare:


I know, I know the anthropologie tank is way cuter! I just don't have $48 to be spending on a top.
What do you think? Have you created something that was inspired by an anthropologie item lately?
Linking up these parties Here

April 14, 2011

Oh-So-Good Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It's been a busy week and will be a busy weekend for us. We just celebrated my daughter's birthday yesterday and still have lots to clean up. I'm starting to work on a project, making four circle skirts for four little girls to wear at a play for our local church and this weekend we will have a special service at our church to celebrate the Lord's Supper. Busy Busy! So I don't want to neglect my blog and thought I would share my favorite recipe. I got this recipe from the Whole Foods website but substituted and added some ingredients and made it my own but kept their title cause it sounds so much cooler than just oatmeal raisin cookies:


This recipe says it makes 2 dozen cookies but if you like your cookies nice and chunky like I do, then you will really have 14-16 big and chunky cookies.

(note: my changes to the original recipe are in bold, to view the original recipe click Here)


Ingredients

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened 
3 tablespoons olive oil 

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice sugar 
1 egg 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1 cup quick cook or old-fashioned rolled oats 
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 cup seedless raisins
 1/2 cup of original applesauce
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together butter and oil until completely blended. Whisk in sugar, egg, vanilla and salt; set aside. In a second large bowl, combine oats, flax seed, flour and baking powder, then add to butter mixture and stir in applesauce, pecans and raisins mixing well to combine thoroughly.

Drop dough by the spoonful onto prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart, and bake until cooked through and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to wire racks and set aside to let cool completely.

Serve with a glass of milk or cup of coffee and Enjoy!
Linking up these parties Here

April 12, 2011

Sample Showcase! Is it my birthday?

I had a little surprise in my mailbox yesterday! No, not a high energy bill (yet!) but a cute little box from the USPS full of awesome samples and coupons inside! Can you tell I'm excited!! I thought it was odd at first because I didn't remember signing up for such a thing but then I went to their website...


...and I found that it is a new program where they are selecting people where the USPS and companies together bring you their products for people to try. All I know is that I was excited and I actually have used one or two of these products before and love them! Here is a picture of my awesome samples:


Here is a list of the things I got:
1. Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant in light and fresh scent
2. Wisk Laundry Detergent
3. Blue-Emu Cream (anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal)
4. Nonni's Italian Cioccolatti Biscotti (already ate it! yum!)
5. GUM soft picks
6. Starbucks VIA ready brew (Italian Roast & Colombian)
7.Coffee Mate creamer (French Vanilla)

and coupons for each of the items! 

If you would like to receive one of their boxes, check out their website Here
I think not everyone qualifies but it doesn't hurt to give it a try!

I just signed up and ordered another box! Can't wait to get it!
Don't you just love free things?
  
Linking up these parties Here

April 11, 2011

Dinning Room

I thought I would show you the only room in the house, that is sort of finished for now. Every other room in the house is either halfway done (decor wise) or not yet started. Here is a before picture just so you can see what this room used to look like when we first purchased the house in 2005. It has changed so much yet, it is still not done.
This is the wall on the opposite side of our dinning room. Basically everything pictured is from IKEA.
Here is the dinning room and you can see here the curtains I want to replace badly! The wall color you see here is basically the same plain beige (navajo white) that is painted throughout the house except in the rooms. So the brown curtain panels don't help much color wise. You can also see my new dollar store baskets in the background:
These are some curtain panels that I saw on the Anthropologie website and I think they would look nicely in my dinning room as well as bring some color and pattern into the room/house since my dinning and living room are only separated by a half wall. Except these lovely panels are $108-$218 ea.!! Yeah I know, that is crazy! So I plan on looking for some fabric similar to these and making my own.
Here you can see the view from the other side of the dinning room wall (window). The light fixture was also purchased at IKEA about 2 or 3 years ago when we replaced most of the house's old light fixtures. 
I hope you enjoyed looking at a part of our home, I can't wait to show you all the rest.
We are still working on our kitchen. We just had a water softener installed yesterday.
Hopefully we can finish the kitchen soon, it is taking forever! 

Linking up these parties Here

April 8, 2011

Agua de Melon (Cantaloupe Water)

It's beginning to look a lot like summer here in Texas. We already began turning our air conditioner on, our grass is going from brown to green and our tree is starting to fill up with new leaves.
I love this time of year and since Cantaloupes are on sale at HEB, what better way to kick off Spring/Summer than by making some aguas frescas. In our house we hardly drink sodas, I almost always make lemonade for us to drink with our dinner and when summer comes around we drink lots of aguas frescas from melon (cantaloupe), sandia (watermelon) and even pepino (cucumber). They are very simple and easy to make. All you need is your choice of fruit, sugar, water and ice.


You can see mine has a lot of pulp (just the way I like it), but you can easily scoop yours out with a spoon or use a strainer if you don't like too much pulp.

For this Agua de Melon recipe you will need:

- 1/2 a Cantaloupe (if you are making a gallon use a whole one)
- 3 spoonfulls of Sugar ( if you are making a gallon use 6) 
-Water & Ice

First you scoop out your seeds and cut your melon into pieces. Put your melon pieces in your blender, add 3 spoons of sugar (using a cooking spoon, not an eating spoon) and add enough water to be able to blend in your blender. 


Blend well and add your blended mixture into your pitcher and add more water to until your pitcher is full. If you don't like pulp you can scoop out or strain out. Mix and serve in a glass with Ice! Enjoy! 
It's simple and refreshing, my kids love this! 


Linking up to these parties Here