Two for Tuesday

Hi y’all! (There…I did it…it only took me two months to jump on the “southern accent” bandwagon!) I hope everyone has a nice Easter weekend and got to enjoy the beautiful signs of Spring!  I know that we are certainly getting the pollen down here, so those colors should be popping out soon.

Are you ready? Here’s my two Tuesday this week:

“Together” Sign

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I am always trying to find reasonable ways to make our rental home more “homey” and have some gems that I can take with us to our “real” home.  I don’t know about you, but I always see those wall stickers with cute quotes at stores, like this.  I always wonder to myself if you can REALLY put them on any surface and how easily they really come off painted walls.  Being a rental home, I didn’t want to take a chance putting something that couldn’t or wouldn’t come off since it’s my first time trying these, so I decided to find quote I liked and stick it on canvas.  The quote is like a big sticker that you pull off the backing and something like a plastic credit card or gift card to smooth it out.  Since the particular quote I got came in about 5 different pieces, I laid each word out and centered it so I knew where it would go when I pulled the backing off.  It was actually really easy to put on the canvas…I did however put a thick (clean) cutting board on the backside of the canvas to have more support to press the “sticker” against.  After the quote was on the canvas, I was left with a white and black canvas…pretty boring, didn’t really match my decor, and definitely didn’t add color which is what I was hoping a wall hanging in that particular spot would do.

I am a huge fan of the watercolor art that you can find on many wall hangings nowadays and tried to figure out how I could incorporate that look into my wall hanging without taking away form the saying.  I got a few ideas of styles and colors and watched a few YouTube videos about how to create a watercolor look with acrylic paints…and Voila! below is my final product.  My husband thinks it looks really homemade, but I think it is very in style with today’s interior decor.  What do you think?

painting

Coffee Creamer

I am one of those people that likes my coffee more beige than black…I can’t help it!  My husband, on the other hand, likes his coffee very dark with about 2 drops of milk or cream. I know that creamers are not the healthiest option, but the flavors make make my mornings so much more colorful!  Well, recently, hubs and I were at the local grocery and I was going to grab a bottle of creamer and he told me to look at the ingredients…I did, and realized that not only could I pronounce half of the ingredients, the ones I could pronounce were not the best for you.  So, determined to have my coffee without a bunch of “junk,” I went onto to plan B…making my own creamer.  If you HAVE to have creamer in your coffee and have about 5 minutes each week to make your own, I suggest you try it!  I am finding that I spend about a quarter of what I used to spend on creamer and its a lot better for me!

Here’s what I do:

Ingredients
  • 1 cups of half and half
  • 1 teaspoon flavored extract (I used almond, but here is where you can really creative with flavors…I’m going to be trying coconut next week!)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (use the good quality)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Agave (optional, to your liking for sweetness)
Instructions
  1. In medium saucepan, add the half and half until it is warm.
  2. Remove from heat.  Add vanilla, flavored extract, optional cinnamon and whisk in to combine.
  3. Cool to room temperature or use right away in your coffee.
  4. Once cooled, pour the creamer into a tall jar (I used an old creamer bottle), cover and store in fridge for up to 5 days.
  5. Shake well before each use.

creamer

Enjoy!

 

 

Two for Tuesday

Hello! Sunday marked the first day of Spring and it is so exciting to see all the fresh new flowers popping up.  Spring is my favorite time of year…maybe because it’s my moms, my niece’s and my birthdays in the Spring, maybe because I got married in the Spring, or maybe it’s because of what Spring marks with new life and new beginnings.  Either way, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and all mother nature has to offer this time of year!

Spring also gives me that extra little bit of energy with the extra hour to get crafty and spend a little extra time making special treats in the kitchen, so with that being said, here’s my two for Tuesday:

  1. Cinnamon Buns: My mom has a bread machine and I grew up with her always making fresh bread…my sister and I even got to a point where we despised fresh homemade bread…can you imagine?!?! With that being said, mom finally got the message and would make her bread periodically, but a “go to” of hers was always her cinnamon buns.  About a month ago, they were having snow and she got the itch to make them and had the nerve to send a picture of them to me.  Now let me remind you, she is in the D.C. area and I am in Austin, TX…I don’t want to know what they would be like after they were mailed and I can’t just drive over and grab one…it was the biggest tease ever!  So, I decided to go out and find my own recipe.  While I do have a bread machine too, I have made a few things in it and for some reason they always turn out horrible…too much salt, don’t rise enough, too dry, etc.  So, whenever I can find a bread related recipe that doesn’t require a machine, I am all about it.  I will post the recipe below and it is pretty easy with easy ingredients, I have to warn you though, it is a bit time consuming, BUT totally worth every minute:
Soft Cinnamon Rolls
makes: 24 rolls
Ingredients
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding (and milk called for to prepare it)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups flour (plus more as needed)
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, make pudding mix according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt to the pudding mixture and mix well.
  3. Add the yeast mixture and mix together. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Add additional flour until dough is soft but not sticky (I added 7 cups total).
  4. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  5. Roll dough onto a floured surface about 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly starting with the long end. With knife put a notch every 1½ inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. *If making ahead of time cover and refrigerate instead of letting rise. When ready to bake remove from the fridge and allow rolls to rise.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden brown. Do not overbake! Frost rolls after rolls have cooled just a couple of minutes (directions below). You still want to frost them while they’re warm just not super hot! Makes about 24 very large rolls.
  7. Frosting: Mix together cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Add more milk as needed.
Notes
Source: Allrecipes and Mels Kitchen Cafe; increased the cinnamon, halved the butter, reduced brown sugar.
Freezing Instructions: To freeze rolls, place them on a baking sheet after they have been rolled and cut. Wrap in plastic wrap and foil and freeze. Thaw rolls at room temperature and allow to rise. Bake as directed.

 

Here’s what mine ended up looking like (By the way, rave reviews from hubby and my neighbors!).  It might be just the recipe you need to bring to your Easter brunch!

 

2. Embroidery Hoop Orbs:

Like I mentioned in my last post, we are in a short-term rental and I am doing everything I can to make it feel like a “home” without spending too much money and doing anything I will just have to fix in a few months.  So, on my search to find some decorator items, I really like the orbs that are popping up in stores from Restoration Hardware to Home Goods to At Home to Michael’s…some are made out of metal and some out of wood, but they are ALWAYS expensive for some reason.  Even at some of my “go to” stores for decorations, the small one costs an arm and a leg.  So, I went out to see if I could make them myself and sure enough, I was able to make the two orbs pictured above with a little paint and some embroidery hoops…all under $10.  I used directions from AKA Designs but instead of using wood stain, I used a metallic paint to match my candle holders (plus, I didn’t want to deal with the mess of wood stain!).  I ended up getting 3 10″ inch embroidery hoops and 3 5″ inch embroidery hoops.  I painted all of them, let them dry overnight, and used all of the hoops but 1 for each set.  I started with the hoops that are not expandable in the middle and expanded the ones that could be expanded to go over all of the other hoops and …Voila! For under $10, I was pretty proud of my little decoration, considering just the smaller size at most stores starts around $10-15.

Well, that’s all for today! I hope you are able to enjoy a little bit of Spring this week, and for those of you that celebrate….Happy Easter!

Two for Tuesday

Hello!  I hope you have had a nice week so far and thank you very much for visiting my blog again.  As I said in one of my first posts, I am new to this whole blogging thing…so, please let me know if you have any tips or tricks or would like to see more or less of the type of things I post!

It was quite a rainy week here in Austin last week, which is very unlikely that it rains an entire week, but was good for the plants and grass AND gave me lots of indoor time to focus on crafts and things I enjoy! So, for this week, here’s my two for Tuesday:

  1. Personalized Hand Towels:  (This section is probably too technical if you’re not into embroidery!) I got back to working on my embroidery machine (Brother SE-400) and have been into trying out different textures.  Some work great and others, not so great, based on the types of stabilizer you use.  I have found that embroidery designs from”Designs by JuJu” tend to stitch out very well and she has quite a collection!  I used a design by juju for the monogram letter below and have found that I really use this pattern a lot as it can be combined with many different colors!

    I made these specific hand towels to match my parents kitchen, but I would be glad to customize a set for you!  Email me for colors of towels and thread, they are $10 a set.

  2. My “Go-To” Dinner:  Growing up, we never had chicken thighs…my mom, like a lot of people, thinks they are fatty and doesn’t like the dark meat.  However, I kept running across recipes that called for them and decided to give them a try…and ever since, they have been a staple in the dinner rotation!chickenandasaparagas  What you see pictured here is what we call “Chicken Thighs Dinner,” which is simply:Pre-heating the oven to 400.  Taking 1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs (we find the organic ones have less fat), 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of rosemary (fresh if possible), salt and pepper to taste and mixing all together in a bowl.  Place all ingredients on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes and voila!  I usually add about 3 cups of brussel sprouts (halved) with olive oil, salt, and pepper on the other half of the baking sheet and cook it all for the same amount of time.  BUT, with Easter right around the corner, I thought I would try out a side we might use when we have our friends over…bacon wrapped asparagus.  I simply greased a baking dish and washed about 1 lb. of asparagus and cut off 1 inch at the end.  I bunched the pieces in 3’s and wrapped one piece of bacon around them, with the open ends facing down on the baking dish for 35 minutes on 400 in the oven.  My lesson learned was that I would flip them over halfway through so that both sides get crispy! Let me know if you get around to trying either of these recipes…Enjoy!

Two for Tuesday

Hello Again! Whew! What a week it has been.  Here in Austin, the weather has been in the upper 70’s lower 80’s all week, so my husband and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and spent a lot of time with Dewey (our wiemaraner) at the local trails.  The picture below was taken at the falls at Brushey Creek…just beautiful!

DewandJenna

That being said, I wasn’t very adventurous with my cooking this week, but I did come up with a few new crafts:

  1. Mason Jar Chandelier: As most of you know, my husband and I are in a short-term single family home rental for a few months until we find a house that we are ready to buy in the Austin area.  The house we are in is about 30 years old, which is quite a change from our 10 or so year old house we had in Fairfax.  On one hand, it has been good to understand how important it is to replace windows (the windows here are originals and lets just say that we aren’t looking forward to the heat seeping through the cracks in the hot summer) among other homeownership chores that need to be kept up on and has taught us what to look for in a new home!  That being said, I have tried to make this short-term rental a home as much as I can, while still keeping most of our boxes packed!  One of the things in this house that has bothered me since day 1 was the “chandelier” in the dining room.  It has three wires hanging down with lights on the end, so it can be customized to any decor.  As you can see in the picture below, the silver spaceship look did not go with our decor very well…so, for about $4 for large mason jars (I got them during the half-off week at Hobby Lobby…did I mention that I can walk there from my house…TROUBLE!), a hammer, and some nails, I took it into my own hands to update!  (I looked on Pinterest for different ideas for this look, but this the site I mostly followed if you want to make them for yourself: Charming Imperfections) Admittedly, hammering the nails one by one in the tops of the mason jar lids was a bit time consuming, but well worth the final look!Lights
  2. Personalized Burlap Bows: Like I mentioned above, I am trying to make our little short-term rental feel like home.  I made some burlap bows for my wedding that I could not part with for some reason when we were packing and wanted to find a use for them.  Since we have settled in quite a bit since our big move and I have been able to get to know my embroidery machine better, I am in the phase of “I can monogram everything”..and driving my husband crazy!  However, the burlap bows are near and dear to my heart, so I wanted to do something that was meaningful to my husband and I to always remember our special day.  I embroidered a “D” for our last name and have found tons of uses for them!

    Since I made these, I have had plenty of friends around here ask how they could get their hands on one or two for their homes.  I am selling them in all different colors of burlap (plain, chevron styles, etc.) with one letter for $10 each.  Please email me at danburysnest@gmail.com if you are interested and would like more information.

    That’s all for now, folks!  Thanks for reading and I hope you have a very enjoyable week!

Two for Tuesday

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you are having a great week so far!  Whew…what a week it has been for me!  As I have been working on developing my Etsy site, I had no idea that there were so many intricacies involved.  While it is up to each seller/site owner to determine how in-depth they would like to go with their site, just the branding alone is an entire education…not to mention planning inventory, shipping costs, etc.! 🙂 Hu Hum…Why don’t they teach you THIS stuff in school?!?

Besides getting the Etsy shop ready, I have been busy out and about in Austin and exploring my new state and town.  The hubs and I got our license plates and drivers license’s this past week, so this whole move is feeling more and more official everyday.

  1. The Bunnies Are Multiplying:    It’s hard to believe that Valentine’s day has already come and gone this year.  With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner and Easter only 10 days later, this year is flying by!  As I am getting more and more familiar with my embroidery machine, I can create much more customized designs.  With Easter right around the corner, I thought I would make this set for my niece, Emma.

    Please Note: I am working on getting my Etsy shop set up, but if you would like to order one of these sets for a girl or a onesie without the bow for boys (bunnies will be blue, yellow, and white – with silver dots and outline), please feel free to email me (danburysnest@gmail.com).  I am charging $15 for the girl set and $12 for the boy version and can make them in any child’s size onesie or t-shirt.

2. Southwest Stuffed Peppers:    One thing that you will learn about me is that I love to get most of my cooking done in the morning and have the rest of my meals “ready” for me throughout the day (…and the rest of the day to do what I want!).  When my hubby and I first met, he said that one of his favorite meals was stuffed peppers…I had never had them before, much less, knew how to make them.  Over the course of our five plus years together, I have tried quite a few different recipes for them with some resulting in mushy peppers, others too heavy with tomato sauce, etc.  Since we are now living in Texas, I thought it was only appropriate that I make Southwest Stuffed Peppers.  These turned out amazing with the pepper still a little crunchy and avocado and sour cream on top!  I would highly recommend these, I made them in the morning and kept them covered in the fridge until we were ready to pop them in the oven for dinner….easy peasy!

Southwest Stuffed peppers