December 7, 2011

Our Holiday Home

Decorating a home for the holidays is nothing short of an undertaking, but one that I am happy to do over and over again!  Isn't it exhilharating stringing lights, decorating a tree and hanging stockings on the mantle?  Oh and the Christmas music that resounds and plays over and over in your head.  And don't forget the aroma of cookies wafting in the air, mmmmm...  Just love the holidays.  Don't you? 

As I mentioned in an earlier post my husband and I recently moved into our new home, so the decorating excitment is at an all time high as we have all this new space to fill with Christmas joy.  The home is quite a bit bigger than our previous so filling the space has been somewhat of a glorious challenge.  But we were certainly blessed with the previous owners leaving a large lot of Christmas goodness stored in the attic.  Not sure if they intended to leave it behind or if it was forgotten, but either way, we feel blessed to have the extra goodies to dig through and use this season. 
Wishing everyone a happy start to their holiday decorating. 

Be on the lookout for some exciting news that I can't wait to share! 

September 28, 2011

Curtain Shock

I'm so excited to start sharing information about our new home with you.  To get you up to speed the home was not well maintained so we have been busy for the last 2 months getting it in order.  We have patched holes in walls, painted, cleaned, cleaned and cleaned.  Not to mention move out a lot of stuff that the previous owners left behind.  Now, thankfully, that icky stuff is behind us and we can move on to making it pretty.  Yes, I said icky! 

One of the first items on the agenda was to get some curtains for a few rooms.  I thought, for fun, that we would have a 'free' designer come in, give us some ideas and price out some custom curtains.  Now mind you, I have never, ever done the whole custom curtain thing.  I've either made them myself or purchased panels at a discount store.  So, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. 

Let me tell you, we were in shock.

When we were first told the dollar figure I don't think it really registered.  Then it hit us as we walked out of the design center.  What did she just say??  Are we sure we heard her right?


Seriously.  That much.

Before I divulge the dollar value we were given I want to share with you the design plan.  The one room we really wanted curtains for has super high ceilings, like 2 stories high. Small room overall, just super high ceilings with 4 windows.  The design plan that was constructed for that room involved two 13 foot panels and two 9 foot panels.  This room opens in to the dining room which has the normal 10 foot high ceilings.  The designer thought that to keep the flow the curtains should be the same and hang from the 3 windows in that room.  Sounds good.  So lets add 4 more panels there.

These curtains, granted its a lot of fabric, but they are not special in any way.  The designer only wanted to do pocket curtains hung from a fancy rod with a finnial and draped across the window.  Easy enough.  That means no pleating or special hardware required.  As she is telling me all this I'm thinking, good she is being price saavy and not adding a lot of extra sewing features. 

Ok, are you ready.  Hold on to your socks.

The dollar figure we were quoted for the 2 rooms worth of curtains....$11,000.  Yes, there are three zero's there.  Can you believe it?!  It does also include installation, but its hanging curtains.

Needless to say, I'm sewing my own curtains!! 

But some good did come out of it all.  I found out how much money I save when making my own home decor items and I have some great ideas on how to hang the curtains.  I  think thats a win.

Once I locate the right fabric to use I'll keep you posted on the sewing progress.

Hope everyone has a great day!

September 25, 2011

Been Awhile

Wow!  I feel so bad for not blogging for over two months.  I've so missed it and my blog friends, but it has been a super crazy few months.  My husband and I purchased our 'forever' home and have been busy getting it in order.  We have still yet to move in, but we are getting oh so close to making the move.  Its been a lot of work, but we are excited that we have had a chance to fix it up and make it our own.  I'll show pictures when I have some good things to show.  I have a feeling that there will be PLENTY of opportunities for some craftiness in this new home as sticker shock on decor items is making me remember why I love crafting!

On another note, it has come to my attention that in my absence my account was hacked.  I don't think anything bad happened, but if anyone recieved a message from me in the last two months, I'm sorry, and do know it was not me.  I do hope that the message was false and I can resume my normal blog messaging.

On a happier note, I'm hoping that we will get moved into our new home soon so I can start crafting up a storm making it pretty :)  I hope everyone has been well and hope I can get back to regular blogging soon.

Have a great evening.

July 26, 2011

New Potatoes and Peas

One thing is for sure, I'll be visiting my parents this time of year every year.  Not that I won't visit in between!  My parents have a huge vegetable garden that they plant each year.  It is full of tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squash, beans, cucumbers, basil, and most importantly, peas.  Oh the gratification of picking a pod right off the plant and cracking it open.  Those perfect little round delicate pieces of sweet goodness are so much better than any piece of dessert I have ever had placed in front of me (ok, maybe if a slice of cheesecake were in front of me it would be tough decision ;).  I can just never get enough.  As my parents find out when I say a quick hello and disappear into the garden to start snacking!

This time around I managed to snap a few pictures while there were peas in the bowl.  I actually surprised myself that I was able to shell the peas and actually have enough left in the bowl for dinner!  Go me for self control! 

It has been a tradition in my family that when the peas are ready we have a bowl of new potatoes and peas.  My dad tells us that this is a farmers tradition, but all I know is that it is good and I'm more than happy to carry on the tradition. 

It is a simple recipe that is full of healthy flavor. 

What you will need:
-Some new red potatoes
-Fresh peas
-Milk (enough to cover pea and potatoes)
1.  Cut potatoes in half and cook in water until tender.
2.  Just before the potatoes are done cooking add peas.
3.  Warm the milk, don't boil.
4.  When potatoes and peas are done, drain off water and return back to the pot.
5.  Pour warmed milk over potatoes and peas.

Now scoop yourself out some fresh garden goodness.

July 20, 2011

Exchanged Gifts

Awhile back I had shared with you that I was going to be participating in a gift exchange.  I know it was awhile ago and I'm just blogging about it!!    I'm finally getting around to sharing with you what I made for the exchange and received. 

Wonderful gifts recieved
Lunch Tote
Crocheted produce bag
Fabulous handmade cards

What I made for the Exchange

A Kindle cover
Cat toy
Brush or Crochet hook roll
It was a lot of fun; already looking forward to the next exchange!  The exchange is actually going to happen again the first week of November!  If you are interested in participating in the next round be sure to be subscribed to Craftaholics Anonymous

July 16, 2011

Some Strip Quilt Love

I finally finished another quilt and I have to say, I really like how it came out.  I have seen several strip quilts and have had it on my list of to-do's for quite some time (along with several other things!). 

This one was made for a very special friend who just had a baby girl.  It really makes me smile looking at all the happy colors.  Thinking I may have to make a duplicate :)

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June 21, 2011

My First Sewing Machine

I just got back from a trip up north visiting family.  Although it was a super quick trip, we certainly managed to pack in a lot.  Starting off with some shopping and pedicures to throwing a birthday party and celebrating Fathers day.  Even though it went by all too fast, it was so great to see my family again. 

One of the highlights of the trip was taking a walk down memory lane. One evening a whole slew of old photographs came out of their hiding place and onto the dining table.  There were a lot of laughs, stories told and things long forgotten were remembered.  But mainly a whole lot of laughs!  The crazy plaid outfits, crazy permed hair and the oh so cool high school moments. 

Among all these memories I came across a photo I never knew existed, my very first sewing machine.  I just knew I had to share this photo with you.  The look on my face as I opened the gift just says it all.  Guess I have had a passion for sewing for quite some time and am happy that it is something that has stuck with me.

Now for the other photos, they will almost certianly never be shown!!  Ok, maybe someday I'll break down and publicly show my crazy permed hair! 

Hope every one had a great Fathers Day weekend too.

June 15, 2011

Bag Madness

I think I have a great excuse as to my lack of blogging the last few weeks, sewing.  Yes, sewing up a storm in fact.  With the weather being quite hot (oh the A/C feels so good these days) I have no problem sitting in front of the sewing maching coming up with new ideas.  I've made a total of 11 bags/wrislets!  Plus I've manage to finish a quilt top, bibs and even make a pair of earrings!  Now that I call accomplishment. 

All thanks to a little bit of motivation.  Between my husband and I, we have 13 birthdays to celebrate from April to July. Plus holidays (Mothers and Fathers Day, Easter, etc) and other random events. Needless to say, its a bit crazy! But I'm thankful because I was able to get my craft on and come up with a few new bag patterns all by my lil ol self, with the exception of the little wristlets

I've also signed up for a gift exchange via Craftaholics Anonymous which I am very excited about. Be on the lookout for what I made and what I recieved in a few weeks.

With all that said, I'm going to leave you with some pictures of the newest bags.

Phew, now back to the sewing room to keep up the good work!


June 2, 2011

Idea Overload


My head is spinning from all the picture overload I am getting over at Pinterest.  Seriously, the person that thought of this is uber genius.  I can now not only drool over ideas and continue to add to my to-do list, but I can categorize, sort and the best part, it keeps track of the source!!!  No longer do I have to remember where I got the idea from and/or create files for all my ideas on my computer. 

There is however a slight can spend hours at a time perusing all the pins!  Oh, and not to mention the long to-do list that comes from all the super creative ideas that people find and pin.  So addicting! 

If you are interested in creating your own Pinerest account or you are on the waiting list, let me know and I'll send you an invitation (its an invitation only type of thing).  Passing on the generousity of another fellow blogger.  Just leave a comment below or send me an email (danaepm(at)live(dot)com) telling me your email address.

Here are a few of my finds on Pinterest that are on my to-do list!

source Bella Carta
source Do It Yourself

source Every Last Detail

source Houzz

source Etsy
This is just a small, small fraction of what there is.  Can you see what I'm talking about!  LOVE

PS.  This is by no means a sponsored post, just thought I'd share something that is putting a smile on my face today!

May 31, 2011

Green Endeavor ~ Reducing Plastic Use

To start off my green endeavor series I'm going to try to reduce the amount of single-use plastics I bring into our home.  You know, those plastics that we use once and toss into the trash; shopping bags, take out containers, packaging, Ziploc bags, etc. Lets face it, plastic is made from petroleum and/or natural gas and other harmful chemicals that are harmful to both us and the environment.  Not to mention their long life in our landfills (can take some 1,000 years to decompose) and pollution to our waterways that cause harm to wildlife.  However, this is certainly a challenge since we have become consumers of convenience and plastic makes it possible. 

Single use plastics are all around us and are items we have a choice not to use.  From plastic grocery bags to take-out containers we have the power of choice not to accept these items. The easiest, and less cumbersome start is to avoid plastic shopping bags.  Did you know that approximately 1,000,000,000 (yes, that is 1 trillion) plastic bags are used a year around the world.  Translating to 1,000,000 bags per minute or 150 bags per person per year.  Talk about a staggering amount of plastic bags polluting and littering our environment.  Not to mention that their toxic nature only continues as they start to break down and leach into the soil. 

Sorry, couldn't help but add this video.

I know it has been a growing trend to take reusable bags to the grocery store to carry home your food goods, but it is a trend I'm embarrassed to say I haven't jump on, yet.  And not forgetting that the grocery store isn't the only place to take your reusable bag; its time to show off your eco-chic self to your favorite clothing store, fabric store or any storefront that provides a bag.  This is my declaration and promise to both myself and you that I will stop bringing home these toxic convenience items.  I'm ready for the challenge and do my part in decreasing the amount of plastic that fills our landfills and waterways.  Don't forget that paper bags are not a replacement to the plastic bag as they require natural resources to produce and often more energy to produce. 

As a way to make it more convenient for us, a crafty community, to come together and reduce the amount of plastic single use bags in our environment, I have compiled a list of DIY bags.  Making your own bags allow them to be personal to you and reduce some concerns with the store-brand reusable bags.  Also, this reduces the embarrassment of taking a Publix brand bag into Whole Foods!  Don't forget, these aren't just for groceries, take them anywhere you shop to prevent bringing home plastic bags. 

There are so many patterns and ideas out there for you to make your own bags, but this list is some of my personal favorites I've come across. 

Produce bag from Delia Creates
Ruffled reusable grocery bag by Sawdust and Paper Scraps
Fold Away and Zip away totes by Crafty Ady
Insulated Tote by Sew4Home
Oilcloth tote by The Purl Bee
Mesh produce bag by My Happy Crazy Life
Recycled grocery tote by Made
Fold Up tote by Zaaberry
Reusable snack bag by The Pomegranate Chronicles
Snack bag by Puking Pastilles (now Georgia Leigh)

(Sorry for the lack of pictures, Blogger is just not enjoying this post!)

If you have a favorite DIY shopping bag idea please leave a comment sharing it or email me. I hope you join me in my endeavor to reduce the amount of plastic consumed for the sake of convenience. 

If you are already using your own shopping bags, THANK YOU! Now lets start the next task of taking your own containers to restaurants to reduce the use of single-use plastic containers or find alternatives to using plastic garbage bags.  For other ideas please visit Plastic Free Living for a long list of ideas to reduce your dependence on plastic. 

For those days when you don't remember your cloth bags please remember to recycle or reuse the plastic bags. 

Fused plastic bags ideas by Craft

A documentary trailer for Bag It on the impact of plastic bags.

I hope you join me in reducing your single-use plastic consumption.  Now off to make my reusable shopping bags!  I'll post pictures of mine shortly.

May 27, 2011

Veg it Out ~ Chana Masala (Chickpeas)

I grew up eating healthy dinners in a meat and potato household.  My dinner plate would almost always be divided equally in thirds between meat, potatoes and veggies.  I was also always the nerd who carried her lunch to school that usually smelled of green peppers and PB&J ~ I just never enjoyed eating what the cafeteria had to offer, sorry Ma!  My parents also always had a huge vegetable garden every summer that would keep our kitchen full of healthy goodness throughout the year. 

I think it was these early childhood eating habits that led to furthering my healthy endeavor and pick a vegetarian path.  As I've mentioned before, I've only been a vegetarian for well over a year now, with a few minor deviations thanks to some childhood favorites.  But all in all, I think my husband and I have stuck to the path quite well.  More on our vegetarian journey to come.

In the meantime, I want to share with you some of our favorite vegetarian recipes.
First on our agenda is Chana Masala.  This is an Indian dish of spicy chick peas with a hint of lemon.  If you are under the impression that making Indian food is difficult and time consuming, you'd be right about time consuming.  However, the only difficult part is being patient while cooking the onions!  They get me almost every time when I try to rush them.  Don't under cook them or burn them, just saute until they are golden.  Taste test if you are unsure.  They should not be crunchy, they should be soft and kind of melt away with a nutty sweet undertone.  My white girl secrets (what works for me) to making Indian patient, cook on low heat and make enough to have leftovers ~ its always better the next day!  And of course have a little fun.

Chana Masala
(adapted from

1 tablespoon olive or preferred oil
1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
2 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups cooked chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 lemon (juiced)
2 fresh, Thai green chili pepper, finely chopped *
1.5 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
Salt to taste
  1. On medium heat, heat oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until golden, approximately 10 minutes.  Continue to stir so onions do not burn.
  3. Lower heat.  Add coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper and turmeric.  Stir until onions are coated with spices.**
  4. Add tomatoes.
  5. Stir until tomatoes are cooked and you have a pasty mixture.
  6. Add chickpeas. Stir and coat chickpea with onion mixture.  Cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add water. Stir.
  8. Add remaining ingredients, roasted cumin seed powder, garam masala, lemon juice, ginger and chili peppers.
  9. Cook approximately 20 minutes.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Serve hot over rice or with roti.
*use more or less depending on your spice tolerance

**when adding spices to onions there is a tendency for there to be smoke, when heat is set too high.  If you want to avoid this, add the tomatoes to the onions first then add the spices. 

If you try, let me know how you like it!


May 26, 2011

Scrap Happy – Scrunch Tote

Scrunch Bag 1 After making my first Scrunch bag I had a few requests for a tutorial.  So here it is!  I had a little bit of fun with the second bag.  Namely,  this one is quite a bit bigger than the first, much more of a messenger style bag versus handbag.  But don’t worry, the process was the same.  Another change is the strap.  On this larger version I used a women’s belt.  That’s right, a belt!  I absolutely love the look. 

So lets get started, shall we.

Needed supplies:
  • 2 pieces of outer fabric measuring (W) 21.5” x (H) 30”
  • 2 pieces of interior fabric measuring (W) 20” x (H) 13”
    • 2 pieces of iron-on medium weight interfacing (same measurement as lining)
  • 2 pieces of fabric 2.5” x 6” from outer fabric
  • 1 belt (mine was a women’s small)
  • 2 rivets
  • sewing supplies (machine, thread, etc)
1.  Ruffle the 4, 30” long edges of the outer fabric.  Start the ruffle approximately 1.5” inches from edge so you have a non-ruffled top edge on both pieces.  Easiest way to ruffle, set your straight stitch to the longest length and set your tension to the highest level (9). 
2.  Take the ruffled edges and adjust them, by pulling on the threads, so that all ruffled edges measure 14”. 

3.  Place the 2 ruffled outer pieces right sides together and pin the 2 ruffled edges and one unruffled edge.
Ruffles Pinned Ruffles Pinned 2 4.  Sew the 3 pinned edges together.  Make sure to have a larger seam allowance than what was used when making the ruffle.
Sewing together 5.  Turn the outside of the bag inside out and take a look at all that ruffled, scrunchy goodness. 
Outside Bag 6.  Moving on to the interior of the bag.  Attach the interfacing, per manufacturers instructions to the wrong side of the interior fabric.  Take the interior fabric and place right sides together.  You will want to leave an opening in the bottom of the lining in order to turn the bag inside out.  In the picture you can see I placed 2 sets of pins close together to indicate where to leave an opening. 
6b.  If you want to add a pocket, do so before sewing the lining together.  I made large pockets that went across the entire width of the bag.  However, make a pocket, or pockets, that will suite your needs and sew into place after you iron on your interfacing.  Be sure to place the pocket at least 4” up from the bottom.  Then proceed to sew your 3 sides together.  Remember to still leave an opening in the bottom of the lining to turn inside out. 
Inside pocket
7.  Now we are going to want to create a boxed bottom to the bag.  Lets start with the lining and then do the same with the outer bag that we sewed together first.  You will want to create a triangle and sew in 2 inches from the tip of the triangle, as seen in the picture.  Again, do this on both bottom corners of the lining bag and on the outer bag.
Boxing 1Boxing 2Boxing Outer  8.  Time to put your bag together.  With the lining turned wrong side out, place the outside, turned right side out, into the inside of the lining. Essentially, you will want right sides together with the lining being on the outside.
Making a bag 1Making a bag 2 9.  Line up the side seams and pin.   You may need to adjust the lining so that the lining piece and the outer piece line up without having the two bunch together.  You want the lining and the outer bags to line up smoothly all the way around.  Once they do, sew all the way around.

10.  Turn the bag inside out through the opening you left in the lining.  Once turned inside out line up the boxed corners on either side. 

11.  In order to keep the scrunched outer and the lining in place, we are going to attach the bottom corners together.  Once you have them aligned pull them back out through the lining opening and sew the cutoff corners together.  This will keep the bottoms of the bag together.
Attaching bottom
12.  Once you have sewn the bottom corners together, stuff them back through the lining opening and sew the lining closed.  Either machine stitch or hand stitch.

13.  Time to attached the strap.  As mentioned in the supplies this larger tote uses a belt.  In order to attach I used both rivets and made a fabric tab. 
14.  To make the tab, use the 2.5” x 6” pieces of outer fabric and create a tube.  You will want to turn the ends in about a half inch first to create a smooth outer edge, then sew down the long side.  Turn inside out when sewed and iron flat.
15.  Loop the tab around the buckle end of the belt and align on the side of the bag.  Making sure to center it over the side seam.  Sew in place by sewing a box shape around the edges of the tab.  Secure as necessary.
Tab 4
16.  Next its time to attached the other end of the belt to the bag with rivets.  I had so much fun hammering the rivets that I did not get pictures of the process.  But line up the end of the belt with the holes onto the opposite side of the bag, over top of the side seam.  Use the holes of the belt that you feel will make the strap the right length for you.  Use the rivet instructions to attach belt to the bag.  You can also attach snaps as opposed to rivets so you can adjust the strap as needed ~ I will definitely be doing this on my next bag.
17.  Now admire your new pretty, scrunchy bag! 
Scrunch Bag 2Scrunch Bag 3 
Alternatively, if you want to create the braided strap like the first smaller scrunch bag, make 3 long 1 inch tubes and braid.  Make the length that you desire and attach the strap to the side seams by placing in between the lining and the outer bags in step 8 above. 

Hope you enjoy making you very own scrunch bag! 

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