Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just made this for vacation!

Pretty excited about how this turned out! Total cost $10! Found this fabric on sale, and loved it. It's a printed poly/spandex blend, I couldn't believe it! The necklace attachment is from an old Forever XXI shirt I had. Once the shirt was worn out I just cut the best part of it off and saved it for future use. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Homemade Coconut Granola

Coconut Granola 

There is a lot of misconception in granola. Many people think just because it's granola, it's automatically healthy. This couldn't be further from the truth. I've searched high and low for a perfect granola, and believe me - there is not a single one out there that is perfect in my eyes. I finally had it, and decided to start making my own! I've finally perfected the recipe to share. This stuff is dramatically better tasting, and for you! Success! And, it's generally less expensive than the store bought stuff, anyway.

5 cups organic Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped Macadamia nuts
1/2 -1 c shredded coconut
1/3 cup local honey
1/3 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
1 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract 
1/2 t sea salt
2 t cinnamon 

Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine oats, coconut and nuts and toss lightly until evenly combined. 
In a saucepan over very low heat combine coconut oil, honey, and extracts. Once melted add in the salt and cinnamon until well combined. 
Slowly drizzle the melted mixture over the granola, pouring as evenly as possible. Immediately work the oil combo into the granola with a spatula. Working quickly allows all the oat mixture to become evenly coated and for it not to stick / burn with too much concentration. 
Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir mixture well with spatula. Cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15- 20 minutes. Loosen granola with spatula. If your oven tends to cook quick or hotter,  use caution on the last 15 minutes and check often. The granola will continue to cook slightly as it cools at room temperature.
Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container such as OXO to keep it nice and fresh!

Makes approximately 12, 1/2 cup servings per batch. I've done the math on the calories and depending on the amount of coconut you use, each serving has between 220 & 260 calories. 

Trial and Error:
I like to make a double batch of this so I don't have to make it as often. However, through trial and error I've found it works out much better to do a single batch of oil/honey at a time. I've tried doubling it and pouring it over both sheets and then mixing the first pan before getting to the second. Here is where I learned to work quickly for best results! Now, I prepare both cookie sheets with oats, etc. and then make the oil mixture for each pan separately. This works great! Also, the parchment paper helps the granola from not stick at all (it's pretty amazing stuff!), and keeps the oil moisture off the pan and onto the granola where it's supposed to be. 

Health Notes of This Recipe:
- Free of processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soy products,
-Organic and Non-GMO as much as possible
- High Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, which is better for your health. This is why I use macadamia nuts.
- I eat 1 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of granola each morning. I've noticed this granola keeps me full longer than any others I've tried.

Store granola in an airtight container such as OXO. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

- 6 Anaheim Peppers, cut through one side, seeded, stems remove
- 1 package sliced mushrooms, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, or 1 head of roasted garlic, chopped
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 3 cups tomato sauce recipe (see note below)
- 1 small can tomato paste
-  1/2 t sea salt
- 1 t ground pepper
-  1 T garlic powder (I love garlic!)
- 1 t ancho or similar chili powder
- 1 t onion powder
- 1 t red pepper flakes
- 2 T dried cilantro or 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup grated Mexican or Monterrey Jack Cheese
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced 
- sour cream
- guacamole 

1. Clean and seed peppers. Begin cooking ground beef. Chop all vegetables. 

2. Drain beef once mostly cooked. Add onions, garlic (fresh), mushrooms and tomato sauce. Stir well. Cook an additional 5 min. until onions are tender. Season with spices.

3. Place peppers in a lightly oiled casserole dish, alternating directions for better placement. Begin spooning meat mixture into each pepper. Any remaining meat can be placed to the sides of the peppers. Top with grated cheese. 

4. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 

5. Top with fresh green onions, sour cream and guacamole to preference. 

Note: I went out on a limb and used some home made pizza sauce I had leftover.   WOW, was it good! Ordinarily I would have used straight tomato sauce and seasoned it a lot. Now, let me clarify a bit more. All this sauce is, is tomato sauce, 1 can tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, 1T Italian seasoning, 2 T oregano, 1 t red pepper flakes & 3 T sugar. Most of these ingredients I'd use in Mexican dishes anyway. It turned out spectacular! 

DIY Headboard: Part 2

Alright, I'm back! I've finally received my fabric and I''m ready to cover the headboard. Here we go for part 2...

Align fabric at bottom edge. If using a pattern fabric, make sure it is placed evenly across the whole width of the bottom. Pin in place.
Cut fabric around top edges, leaving a thick border around all edge. Make sure to leave enough to fold over batting and secure to headboard. 

Pick a spot in your pattern and make sure it hits in the exact same spot all across the bottom of the headboard. Notice the wide "V" design I've aligned at the bottom.
Around the corners, you will need to clip your fabric. Be sure not to clip to far. This will help you manipulate the fabric around the corners for a smooth finish. 
Showing pattern aligned at bottom.

Clip your corners, spread fabric and pull tight as you move from one side to the other.  Secure the this section well as there is a lot of tension. It is wise to under clip vs. over clip. Take your time and be wise so you don't snip to far. 
Pretty clean finished corner edge. I've clipped free excess fabric that would be in the way. Fold under panel in first, then overlap top sections to secure everything below.  Secure very well at the corners. 
I did it!! Love it!
Notice I've planned to have a few extra inches on each side of the headboard to allow for the width and bulkiness of sheets, comforters and pillows. When I planned my width I evaluated it with the bed completely made and with all pillows. Once the bed is made (below), it looks perfect! 
I'm really liking the mixing of my patters here. It's a little different, a little fun, and it's ME!
So proud of my budget friendly, yet amazing, DIY creation! I'm still waiting to put my nailhead trim on, pics to follow once I have time!

If you are wondering which fabric I used, please reference the links below. I love this site! I originally found this fabric at JoAnn, but it was a 3 week delivery on special order . So, I did a little online research and got it ordered and delivered in 5 days.

Online Fabric

Robert Allen New Damask Print

Faux Mercury Glass DIY How-To

Finally getting around to posting my how-to for DIY faux mercury glass. I've read quite a few other tutorials on this technique to get and idea for the process. Some of the suggestions were really good, others, not so much. Here are quite a few pictures from my projects and the steps. I'd definitely recommend getting some "practice glass", maybe something small you can try the process on. Also, no matter what any other tutorial says spraying on the OUTSIDE DOES NOT WORK the same way! You MUST spray on the INSIDE. The whole effect and point of the paint is that it creates a mirror finish, if you spray the inside you get to see the effect of this! See pictures below for examples. The steps to reproduce this effect are at the bottom. Enjoy! 

$4 Goodwill vase turned fabulous! I love this piece! It's about 18'' tall. Used the mirror finish (as you can see part of the neighborhood reflection in it) and also some gold Rustolium.

No paint - old boring flower vase

Empty liquor bottle. This one was tricky due to the small opening at the top. Still looks pretty good. 
Notice the spots inside this one, you should see this as your spraying. 

Details: the spots are created from the vinegar water solution. The gold peaks through where the mirror finish disappears. 
Inside detail of another large vase. These spots are good and will dry. Then they create a cool effect.

Some parts look better than others. It's due to chance and how much you spray.  The uniqueness is what makes each piece.
Test piece of paint on the outside. Clearly, this doesn't look like much more than a flat silver coat. This is why I tested! 

99 Cent Goodwill glass candlesticks with light coat of mirror spray and gold. 

This is a great detail shot of what you should see! 
Bottom of candlestick - remember the effect shows through to the outside! 

Another shot of this vase. Check out the sun glowing in the mirror reflection! 
Reused some glass jars which I glued to the candlestick. 
If that isn't a "mirror" finish, I don't know that is. That's me taking the pic! 

Faux Mercury Glass Directions & Materials:

- Assortment of glass
- Spray bottle
- Vinegar
- Water
- Paper towel (if desired, I didn't use too often)
Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint
- Spray paint gun such as Spray Grip Gun - This piece is optional, but helps.
- Additional spray paint color, such as gold, bronze, etc. if you want another color to show through as I've done. I've not tested out any "colors" besides the gold. I'd love to hear feedback if anyone tries it.

1. Rummage for all the glass you can find. It's amazing what a coat of cool paint can do. Certainly get at least 1 or 2 test pieces.

2. Remove any labels, residue and dirt. Clean and dry glass is important. Make a solution of 50/50 white vinegar & water in a small spray bottle. 4 oz or so should be plenty.

3. Lay out a large tarp, newspaper etc. in your spraying area.  If possible to this in a garage where you won't have high breezes. If painting outside, just be careful of debris in the air. I'd also recommend working in the morning when it is cool. I did a few in the afternoon and the paint dried MUCH faster.

4. Layout all the pieces you want to paint. Space far enough apart to reach all pieces and paint can't transfer from one piece to another.

5. Start painting your test piece. I like to use a spray paint grip, as it makes the paint go on much more evenly.

6. Spray a medium thick layer of the Krylon. Let it dry for  ~ 15 seconds. Spray lightly with the vinegar solution. Your goal should be medium to large spray dots. Less is more until you get the hang of it. If you spray too much or too fast that is when it begins to run. You can lightly blot the glass with a paper towel if desired. I personally didn't prefer this effect as I think it smashes the paint too much. You may like the effect and your use of it could be totally different.

7. Let the vinegar solution "dry" for  ~ 10-15 seconds. This really depends on the temperature! Use your best judgement, but when the Krylon is dry and the bubbles are still a bit wet, spray on your second coat of gold (or other color). You will then see this color peek through to the outside.

8. Let glass dry for 30 min until well set.

9. If gluing jars to candlesticks, use a glass formulated glue (found at Hobby Lobby). Glue usually takes a few hours to soft set, overnight for best results.

10. Proudly display your amazing new faux mercury glass finds!

Notes: I've used 1 can of Krylon & have coated 2 very large vases, 3 medium sized vases, 5 (15-20oz.) jars, 4 glass candlesticks, a 20 x 16 piece of glass and still have a little paint left in the can. Don't worry, I bought 2 cans ; ) Considering 1 piece of cool faux mercury glass costs as much as my entire glass stash, I would say this paint is worth it, even though it is so expensive!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Part 1: DIY Headboard - Using Cardboard Instead of Wood

Hey everyone! I'm super excited about this project. It worked out so well and I took tons of pictures along the way. Part 1 includes all the base work of cutting out your design through getting the headboard completely covered in batting. Part 2 to follow will include covering your headboard in fabric and adding any desired trim (mine will have brass nail heads). 

I've seen quite a few tutorials on Pinterest showing how to use plywood to make a headboard. Let me tell you, this way is not dramatically different, and when you have an excess of cardboard is pretty alluring and way cheap! This headboard will be going in one of our guest rooms, so I don't intend on it having lots of wear and tear. I may back it with plywood in the future if I see problems, but for now I think it's pretty darn great how it is. 

To keep it semi-simple, I'll show you the pictures of the steps with brief descriptions along the way. 

First, have your cat draw up the plans for the headboard...Tino, my little helper really just observed! You will want to draw out your design, calculate how wide and tall of a headboard you need and then do the math to make the numbers equal out.  For mine, all sections were about the same, but I added 1'' to each of the 2 outside sections. 

Layout a giant piece of cardboard, mine is 70'' wide. 

To make a half circle shape at the top I figured out how tall I wanted the design. Then using this ruler I marked 11'' from the center point (think of using a compass back in the day at school). I will say, this came pretty easy to me from taking paternmaking in college. Don't over think it. It's essentially like making a giant rainbow where all points of the rainbow hit 11'' out from the center.

Note how I've marked the circles & used the 90 degree angles to help me get started. Left View. 

Same as above, right view.  

Detail of how I marked the design and measured out an exact distance from the center point. Center point is the 90 degree angle intersection of the two straight lines.

Detail of half circle design at the top. Again, mark center point, measure out distance from center point.

Begin cutting out your design with a sharp Exact-o knife. I tried two to see which worked better. Make sure you SCORE the cardboard first. If you aren't familiar with this technique, it will be very beneficial to you to learn it. I put my self healing cutting matt under the cardboard.  

Yeah!!! We've got the design!! Pretty cool when you get to this point. 

Next, you'll cover this bad boy in batting. Lay out all thicknesses of pre-cut batting on top of each other. I had the lady at JoAnn cut mine to the width I needed (height was already determined by the roll). Start at the bottom to make sure the batting is straight, and begin stapling the batting to the cardboard. You will want to have the batting taught on all edges. Not tight as to compress it, and not loose.  

You will have a little extra above the staples, no biggie.  

Mark the center at the top and bottom. This will be very helpful when you get to the fabric covering part. For now,  my batting just came to the edge at the top due to the width. I just stapled down into the batting to secure the top at this small portion.  

Closer view of above. 

As your stapling your first layer around, cut free the excess at the corners to eliminate the bulk. 

Fold in one side and then overlap with the other layer (shown below)

Fold in and secure with staples.  

First layer of right side cut out and ready to secure.  

Corner and side sections stapled down. Pull batting tight as you staple around the corner, it should be very smooth.  

Detail of top section, first layer, stapled down.  

Cut excess and fold in nicely (this is now layer 2). 

Same principle as above.  

Ah, now we have used all 3 layers of pre cut batting but we have so much extra! NO problem! I could foresee this and planned to use the cuttings as the inside 4th layer. 

Interior 4th layer.  I've planned to use nailhead trip at about 3 1/2'' in from the edge. By creating an interior 4th layer when I put the nailheads in the inside will be thicker than the outside border, which is what I want. This step is not necessary, but in my opinion just makes the headboard thicker and look better. Why no, you have all the cuttings! 

Piece the cuttings until you fill up the 4th interior layer. 

Continue piecing, I hope you like geometry!  

Oh, it fits soooo nicely!  

Used a few tiny cuttings in the center, but for the most part was able to use large chunks.  

My fully finished, interior 4th layer, batting puzzle!  

Detail shot of piecing.  

Staple at an angle to make it easier to release the stapler and to move on quicker. I found this very helpful.  

Plan on having a nice little pile of staples that won't go through the cardboard.... it happens. Oh well! 

After you've secured all the layers one at a time you should have a pretty awesome looking head board. I'll be posting part 2 soon. Stay tuned and good luck!!

Follow up on Part 2 HERE!