Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You Capture – Spring

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Well, it seemed like spring had finally come here, but over the last week we had to pull out the long sleeves and fleece jackets again.  Boo. 

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It seems like weather is perking up though, along with my lilac.


I look forward to its wonderful (and sadly brief) blooming each year.


It grows right next to the front door and on windy spring days the smell just fills the house.

Our flowering crab apple tree has also given us quite a show this spring. 


It was the first tree we ever planted in our new home a few years ago. 


Our “love tree”, maybe?  Like the “love fern” in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days?  Maybe not. 

I played around with a little tinting in the next one.  Sometimes I like that washed out effect.  IMG_8309-1

How about some Spring kiddo art?


He was so impressed with the new technique they learned.


He said with smarty pants amazement, “Now, how do you think we got all of those colors??  Well, it wasn’t by paint! Nope, it was just PAPER only!”


“And I got an art award for my efforts!” 

Happy spring!


Each Thursday, Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry hosts a party for a specific photo assignment and gives the assignment for the next week. Great idea, huh? Like homework for your hobby.

But the fun kind of homework.


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Monday, April 26, 2010

Photo Transfer To Canvas Wall Art

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Obviously, I have an obsession with my camera and the face of my kidlets. What better way to decorate newly updated master bedroom walls??


A few months ago, the ever crafty Mod Podge Amy featured this wonderful photo transfer art by Nitsa at Still Alive. It was the first time I’d seen this done using Mod Podge.

Then, Caroline, The Feminist Housewife, also featured a similar project using what looked to be a picture she printed out at home and gel medium. Every tutorial I’d seen before said to take your image and have it photocopied.

Why not put tips from both posts together: Mod Podge and an inkjet image printed at home. I’m wild, I know. I just figured it was the easiest thing for me…I had it all on hand. No running to Kinkos or Michaels for gel medium.

Guess what?? It worked!



Then, I added the words from a favorite old song, Forever Young by Bob Dylan. The lyrics are just priceless.

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I printed the lyrics in Word using the “mirror image” option and transferred them using the same Mod Podge transfer technique.

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I added a little flourish embellishment and some aging with watered down craft paint. To finish, I coated the entire piece with a coat of Mod Podge to seal it all up.

Hope you enjoyed my venture into unknown crafty territory! I will post a step by step tutorial soon!


Always Nesting

Get your craft on Thurs.

Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!
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Coming To Terms with Giada, Rigatoni with Sausage, Artichokes and Asparagus

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Alternative Title: Coming To Terms With Giada By Being Like Giada…minus the brown hair, wide smile and authentic Italian accent”

A few years ago (yes, years!), I clipped this article and recipe out of O magazine.


Initially, the above shot of a yummy pasta dish drew me.

Then I read the article and was completely sold.

The author wrote about the way to a man’s heart through food… and her husband’s obsession with Giada de Laurentiis.

This little tidbit made me laugh. Why? Well, my husband has the same obsession for the Food Network’s Italian tartlet. Why else would he watch FN? It’s certainly not for Bobby Flay. (Honey, if you’re reading this, don’t be mad. Just statin’ the facts. Hee hee!)


So, it’s now 2010 and I finally made this wonderful dish! Like the author, I’ve come to terms with my hubby’s love for the always smiling, Giada and made one of her recipes.

Of course, it wouldn’t be me without a few adjustments.

The recipe called for 3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes…I only had 1/2 cup left. So I added some fresh tomatoes to the dish at the end.

It also asked for 2 packages of artichokes, but I only used 1…those things are pricey AND I thought it would be artichoke overload. I added extra asparagus instead. YUM!

There are a few other modifications that I made as well, like not having fresh basil and parsley on hand. It still turned out wonderful and my 7 year old totally devoured it.

Rigatoni with Sausage, Artichokes and Asparagus

(This recipe was adapted from Everyday Pasta, by Giada de Laurentiis and printed in the O magazine-April 2008. And now modified by yours truly. Enjoy!)

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato, drained
  • 1 lb hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (8 ounce) packages artichoke hearts, frozen
  • 2 1/2 cups asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded (plus extra for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parley flakes, dried
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)

Cook sausage in a large deep skillet until browned, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces (not minced), about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl. Remove all but a few tablespoons of oil from skillet. Add the artichokes, asparagus and garlic to the same skillet and sauté over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and parsley. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Add the pasta, sausage, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and fresh tomatoes to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost completely absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve and use additional Parmesan cheese as garnish.


Of course, this isn’t a diet recipe, but you could modify it even more with a few more substitutions like turkey sausage, low-fat mozzarella and low carb or whole wheat pasta.

I’m linking this up to the Tasty Tuesday Party at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam AND Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace.

Check them both out for some yummy inspiration!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You Capture – Sweet

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Nothing says sweet like a turning the Big “1” and having your very own tear up cake.


Our littlest neighbor friend, Mary Kate, celebrated her birthday this past weekend and I was there to capture all the sweetness.

That cake didn’t stand a chance!


She took off her party hat…this kid means business!






Ummmmm, can I get a hand here? Anyone??


Meanwhile, Big Sister, Maddie, wasn’t so impressed with my “sweet” boys. Or at a least the little one, B-boy.


He was obviously not respecting her territory. Hee hee.

Oh, there’s our sweet neighbor buddy!


Lanham blocked out everything around him and enjoyed all the sweets of the day…IMG_8432

…including a fun Candy Bar that Mary Kate and Maddie’s mommy set up.

A Sweet Treat Bar…so much better than a salad bar, mommy!

Big thanks to neighbors Mike & Katie for letting me share these pics of their sweetie pies! They are great practice!


Each Thursday, Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry hosts a party for a specific photo assignment and gives the assignment for the next week. Great idea, huh? Like homework for your hobby.

But the fun kind of homework.


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Monday, April 19, 2010

Quickie Wall Art – Playroom

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It seems like letter and word art is here to stay and I had to get in on the action. Hobby Lobby had chipboard letters on sale a while back and I decided to make something for the boys’ lair (a.k.a. our basement).


After picking out a few coordinating papers, I used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to each letter. Then, I trimmed off the excess paper and painted the edges of the chipboard with craft paint (oops, should have started with that step!).


The papers were just a little too bright white for me so I dry brushed each letter with a little watered down tan craft paint.


The previous owners of our home left loads of excess trim and 2x4’s behind. to mount my letters, I put a small remnant to good use on this project. The board was honey oak laminate so I painted it up a little.


Then, I simply attached each letter with Liquid Nails and added a little braided twine to the top for a hanger.


And now the lair seems slightly less scary.

VERY slightly.

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I asked them very nicely to please let their new artwork hang up, undisturbed, at least until the weekend. We’ll see if it lasts that long.

Love them. Little stinkers.






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Frugal Finds – Jewelry Edition

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I’m by NO means a fashionista…quite the opposite, really.  That said, I feel strange doing a post about anything clothing or personal accessory related.  However, I just had to share this deal. 

Yes, it was that good.

I was at the mall (shocking!) and decided to pop into Carson Pirie Scott.  They have great clearance shoes and clothes deals called the Yellow Dot Sale.   You might know them as Bergner’s or Bon Ton in your area.

Anyway, I had B-boy with me, which doesn’t lend itself to the best shopping experience.  My plan was a quick swoop, attack and leave…most likely empty handed.

Passing through the jewelry section, I spotted a Yellow Dot sign on a large rack of pretty and shiny things.  I had to check it out.   Here’s what I found:

These versatile hoops marked down from $18 to $9.99 and with the Yellow Dot discount (an extra 50% off) they should be about $5.IMG_8445

Then I tried on this fun necklace marked down from $28 to $15.99.  Add in the Yellow Dot bonus and they should run me about $8.


For $14 total, I figured that was quite a bargain for two new pieces.   They both were very neutral and could go with lots of different outfits.

But Wait!  There’s a surprise!

When the cashier rang up both items, she gave me a funny look when I told her I’d pay with my credit card. 

Here’s my total:bill

I let out a big “HUH?” and she showed me her screen to verify that I wasn’t dreaming.  She explained that the two Yellow Dot items I purchased had been on clearance SO long that they were actually marked down .99/each!!!

I did the happy dance, paid in cash (BIG spender!), grabbed my little one, put back the costume jewelry he was modeling and ran out of the store before they changed their minds on the price.

How about you?  Any frugal finds out there that you can actually wear instead of hang on a wall? 

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