Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday...a new feature!

Most of you probably don't know this, but I've been a Premier Designs Jewelry Lady for over 8 years.  Have you heard of Premier Designs before?  I adore this company and what it stands for.  It's based on biblical principles.  They give their hostess tons of free jewelry and the jewelry ladies make great money.  This was the only income I had through college.  And until I had kids, I did at least 1 show per week.  The past few years, I've only done a few shows, but my heart is still in it.  I love the company.  I love the money.  And I love the product.

But lately, I've been in a bit of a jewelry slump.  You see, I have this awesome necklace {that has now retired from the collection} that goes with everything.  It's stylish and classy.  And the best feature...I don't have to think about what I'm going to wear every day.  I just grab this.  Except now, I need to branch out.  Wear some of my new jewelry and bring back some of my old pieces.

I want to do this each week to hold myself accountable.  I will not repeat a necklace for an entire week.  This is big for me people.

I will tell you where my clothes and shoes are from too, but it's probably not relevant since most of my clothes are OLD.  I did get some new clothes with gift cards this year, but I don't think I've spent a dime out of pocket on clothes this summer.
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Wind blown look.  The only one I didn't looked ticked off in :)
{Skirt - from high school!, Shirt - Gap, Shoes - American Eagle}

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{Necklace - Premier Designs {Botanical}, Earrings - Premier Designs {Companions}}

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Nice crooked undershirt :-)
{Undershirt - Old Navy, Sweater - JC Penny, Capris - Old Navy, Necklace - Premier Designs {Grace}, Watch - Premier Designs {Cairo}}

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{Jeans - Gap, Undershirt - Unknown, Sweater - Old Navy, Belt - NY&Co, Wedges - Payless}

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Please ignore my linen closet in the background...you can either see the closet or the toilet...depending if the closet door is open or shut. 
{Necklace - Premier Designs {Spectrum}, Ring - Premier Designs {Couture}, Camera Strap - Me}

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Layne had to be in it too.  And this is how I picked her up from my mom's today.
And I didn't realize how baggy my jeans look!  I need to dry those puppies!

{Jeans - Gap, Undershirt & Shirt - Old Navy, Sandals - Nine West, Necklace - Premier {Laura}, Earrings - Premier {Companions, big}}
Layne - {Tank - Dress from when she was 18 mths old, Skirt - Hand-me-down from cousin, Flip Flops - Old Navy}

And thank you to my loving husband for being my photographer.  And not getting too annoyed with me for making him retake the picture 10 times.

pleated poppy

Momma Go Round

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Safe and secure...

Last week, I had a very scary phone call.  It was 1:30 in the afternoon.  The caller knew my name and my husbands {which they can get ANYWHERE...online, phone book, etc}, but they talked to me like they knew me.  And I revealed way more information that I should have.  

"No, Matt's not home."  "Do you know when he'll be in?"  "Sure.  Later on this evening."

Then the caller made a crude comment.  He didn't threaten my life or say that he was coming to kill me, but he made a comment that made me very uncomfortable.  

When I realized how much information I revealed, I freaked out a bit.  I called Matt and made him swear that he wasn't playing a prank on me.  I made him leave work early and come home.  He talked me through where a gun was, how to load it and how to use it.  And then I made my mom come up and pick us up and we waited at her house.

I've had a conversation with my friends before.  I'm never afraid to be home by myself at night.  I feel safe where we live and I'm really never afraid.  I would totally have felt comfortable sleeping with our doors unlocked before.  But this phone call changed the game for me.  I was terrified.  I made Matt check my car before I went outside the next morning.  I was shaken and scared.

And it got me thinking.  I should be more prepared.  We prepare for the worst in so many occasions.  Why not this one?  No one wants to imagine the worst.  But if we do think through things and we plan how we would react, we are much more prepared for a bad situation if it ever does happen.

We imagine what we would do if there were a fire and we practice with our kids.

We get our candles out and flashlights if we think a bad storm is coming.  Just to be prepared.

So, I'm getting prepared.  I'm keeping my cell phone a little closer.  I'm NEVER telling anyone that my husband isn't home.  I'm keeping my doors locked.  And I'm learning how to use a gun.  I would never want to use it, but I need to know how.  I've got a plan.  On what to grab, where to send my kids, and how to get out.  Seriously, where's a panic room when you need one? :)

If you've never thought about something like this {I'm sure most of you have...apparently I'm the weirdo for for feeling safe}, please take a minute to think about it.  Take a self defense class.  Be prepared and have a plan.

I hate that I got that call.  It still gives me the heebie jeebies.  But I'm glad I did.  I'm a stronger person because of it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

{From This Crazy Kitchen} Chicken Vegetable Soup

Today's recipe is pretty similar to the Soup Recipe that I posted last week.  But the flavor and taste is very different!
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Plus, I've got a few variations you can do to really change this up!  
Want Southwest?  No problem.  
Want an Asia flair?  You got it!

And don't worry...I'll still share my traditional chicken noodle soup recipe in a few weeks!

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{Ingredients}
Chicken {duh!}  - I used 2 breasts
Veggies {yeah...another obvious one!}
Vegetable stock or Chicken Stock
Chicken Bouillon or Soup Base {I LOVE Orrington Farms Chicken Base...a bit pricey, but worth it!}
Salt & Pepper
Sage
Basil
Garlic {1-2 cloves depending on potency}

**Veggie wise, I used frozen mixed veggies, added more chopped carrots & celery, a chopped potato, and fresh chopped spinach**

In a big ole soup pot, add stock, spices, and chicken and bring to a boil.  Let cook for 15-20 minutes.  

Check chicken to ensure proper cooking.  If it's done, chop it up.  I chopped mine pretty small with a food chopper because it was most convenient, but big shredded chunks is so yummy too.
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{I LOVE my Pampered Chef Chopper for making soup!}

Add chopped chicken and all of the veggies back to the broth.  Simmer on Medium-Low heat for 30-60 minutes.  

Southwest Variation
Minus: Sage, basil & bouillon/soup base

Add:  1/2 chopped avocado
1 Tbs finely minced Jalapeno
A dash of hot sauce
Cilantro {to taste}
Tortillas {if you so choose}

Asian Twist
Minus: Sage & Basil
Add: 1 Tbs grated ginger
Just a shake of red pepper flakes
Red Bell Peppers
Asian Noodles {if you so choose}

Thursday, August 25, 2011

my attempts at photography

So, remember how a few days ago I told you that I am so not a professional photographer and paid someone to photograph my kids?

Well, my sister asked me to take some pictures of her family.  I gave her fair warning that they may turn out total crap...but I don't think they are that bad.  Definitely no GKB Photography, but okay.

What do you think?  I'd love feedback from all you professionals {and amateurs like me} out there.

I personally love the black and white and aged photos, but I gave her clean, color versions on everything too.


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And I went a little extreme with this one. I thought it was fitting to his mohawk picture {with is kinda hard to see}.

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Oh and if you are interested, I used these actions from The Coffee Shop Blog.  LOVE this blog!  And of course, did some good ol' editing myself :)

Falling for Fall

A few days in the past week, the weather has been so nice and cool.  Perfect jeans and a tee weather, with a jacket at night.  Fall is by far my favorite season.  And as fall is approaching, I am getting in the mood to decorate for fall.

Love this vase with acorns filling the bottom - {via The Thrify Crafter via Pinterest}

I'm not a big seasonal decorator... a nice wreath on the door and a handful of decorations works for me.  What I really love though, is fresh flowers.  I don't buy flowers as often as I'd like because they are so expensive, but I recently found some really cheap flowers online.  

And how ADORABLE is this!?!  {Via Thrifty Decor Chick via Pinterest}

And here's some tips on prolonging the life of your flowers!

Tip 1: Sterilize the vase/container with a bleach water solution prior to using

Tip 2: Cut the flowers at a slanted angle before placing them in the face.  This allows them to have a fresh cut to absorb the water.  And the slanted angle gives you a bigger area to absorb with.

Tip 3: Use the flower food that comes with the flowers.  Research has proven that this is the best additive.

{If you are in a pinch, try this recipe to make your own additive - 1 tsp sugar + 1 tsp bleach + 2 tsp lemon juice}

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Old Summer Time

Since I got my SLR camera in February, I've vowed to learn to shoot manually.  And I was so excited to be able to take my kids pictures by myself.  Well, here it is August and while I've read a few blogs, I haven't put my new camera to work like I should.

So, I finally broke down and paid someone to take my kids pictures last week.

Let me preface this by saying that I've had horrible luck with photographers.  Sure, I can go to Portrait Innovations and pay an okay amount of money, but I get the same pictures every time.

We found a great photographer when Layne was younger.  She was reasonably priced, great with kids, and took great pictures.  I did have a few issues with getting my CDs in the mail in a reasonable amount of time, but I was still satisfied.  That is until this photographer took my sister's wedding pictures and 2 years later, she still owes her over $400 in pictures.

I thought I found another great photographer too.  She was expensive, but for what I thought I was getting, I was okay with it.  Except my expectations were not met at all.  Very few pictures for what we paid for.  And after we tried to discuss, the situation was not pretty.  Great work.  Not so great customer service.

So until recently, I had given up.  That is until I decided to have Kristan @ GKB Photography do our pictures.  I cannot give this girl enough praises.

She was great with the kids.

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She was patient.

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She had great ideas for the pictures.

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She was affordable.

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She had them edited and ready super quick.

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She was fun.

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And I adore the finished product!

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The best part...she's going to give a class for me and a few friends to learn to use our SLRs in a few weeks!  If you are local to the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area, let me know if you are interested!  The more the merrier!

And if you need a photographer, Kristan is your girl!

**By the way, this was not a sponsored post.  I just really loved her and want to recommend her to everyone!**

Monday, August 22, 2011

{From This Crazy Kitchen} Homemade Vegetable Soup

So, one of the things I love about fall is soup!  And I'm already in the mood for some good soup. 
Soup is so filling.  It's great as a meal by itself or a great side with a grilled cheese, sandwich or salad.  

Once a week for the next 5-6 weeks, I'll be sharing one of my soup recipes.  I have several that are staples at my house!
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If you live around here {Kentucky or Ohio}, you surely know about Frisch's Big Boy!  But for those of you that don't, you're missing out! 


 They have the best desserts!  Hot Fudge Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie....yum!  But my favorite thing at Frisch's is their Vegetable Soup.  I love it in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.  And it was my most frequent craving when I was pregnant with both kids.

When I started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, I threw this soup together.  I tend to do this with soups.  Just kinda throw in whatever I want until it tastes good.  And it tasted just like Frisch's!

{Since I ate all of mine before taking pictures...here's Frisch's soup!}

{Ingredients} 
Beef Broth
Can of diced tomatos (with juice)
Frozen Vegetables (to your liking...I add TONS!)
Clove of Garlic
Salt
Pepper
Oregano
Basil
Chicken Bouillon (or Soup Base)

**My soup had frozen Soup Vegetable Mix {potatoes, lima beans, peas, corn, carrots, maybe more}, extra carrots, celery, chopped fresh spinach, frozen green beans**

Add your vegetables and can of diced tomatoes (NOT DRAINED) to the beef broth in a large soup pot.  Add garlic and chicken seasoning.  Spice with the above spices to your desired taste.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Let cook for about an hour or so.

Next week:  Chicken Vegetable Soup!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

{Tutorial} Gathered Pillow

As soon as I finished my new Knotted Bed Quilt, I needed some pillows for it!

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Before making the quilt, I had 2 king sized pillows and 2 Euro pillows with a few throw pillows on my bed.  I knew that I wanted to make something that covered the other pillows I had.

And these pillows were born!

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I'll explain how to make the Euro sized pillows (27" x 27"), but I'll also give measurements for a regular 18" x 18" throw pillow at the end.

{Materials}
Fabric {2 1/2 yds for the Euro size}
Matching Thread
Sewing Machine
Euro pillow

Start out by cutting your fabric.  You need 5 strips of fabric that are 6" wide by 40-50" long.  For the back panel, you need 2 pieces that are 27 1/2" by 16-17".

To create your front piece, pin together two of your strips with right sides together.

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 With your sewing machine set on a straight stitch and the longest stitch length, sew your 2 strips together with a 1/4" seam allowance.  DO NOT reinforce you stitching by going back and forth at the beginning or end!

Pin the next strip and repeat.  {Just make sure that all of the right sides are together each time}.  Complete this until all five strips are sewn together.

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Now to create the gathered look, hold the bottom string and pull your fabric down to create the gather.  Do this until the length of the seam is 27 1/2 inches.  I just compared it to one of my back pieces instead of measuring. Do this to all of the seams.

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To create a finished edge on your pocket in the back, iron one long edge of your back panel pieces under 1/2" and fold and iron down another 1/2" again.  Sew along this side. Repeat on the other back panel.

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Now for the fun part....the pinning!  I recommend sewing the top and bottom first {versus the sides}  I started by placing the unfinished long edge of one of the back panels on the corner of the top ruffled edge. {RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER!}  Pin across the top.

Now repeat with the other back panel starting from the other top corner.  Your finished edges should be in the middle.  This creates your "pocket" to insert your pillow.  The two panels should overlap approximately 3 inches in the middle.  Repeat the pinning on the bottom.

Sew along the top and bottom.

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Now, you'll notice that the front panel has a much longer edge than the back panel.  Turn on your favorite TV show {I picked Design Star} and pin these pieces together creating pleats that line up with the gathers that formed with the ruffling.  Sew along the sides after you complete your 30 minutes of pinning :)

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Turn right sides out and you're done!

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If you want to make a throw pillow (18" x 18" size), follow these instructions above. Just use the following dimensions for your cutting!

Cut 5 strips that are 4" by 36-40 inches for the front panel.
Cut 2 pieces that are 18 1/2" by 21-22" long.

Now I just need to make some covers for my king sided pillows....any suggestions? :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pinterest Love - Chandeliers!

I've found quite a few lovlies on Pinterest lately!

And one thing that I HAVE to have when we finally add on to our house is a chandelier!

I want one in my dining room, craft room, and bedroom {although I'll never be able to convince Matt on that one.  He's a ceiling fan fan!}

I think the ones I love most right now are the bold, spray painted ones.  My vision is to thrift or yard sale an old, ugly one, add some embelishments, and go to town with spray paint.



And I love the chic chandelier styles too.  They look so glam and sophisticated.  Perfect for a master bedroom, girl's room or nursery.  Hey...I'm even thinking in my closet {once I have one big enough to walk into!}




And since we still haven't started our addition...  And since our house took 4 years to build...  I doubt I'll have a chandelier any time soon.  But until then, I'll keep dreaming about them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{Big Reveal!} Bed Quilt


So remember these teaser posts here and here?

Well, my quilt is FINALLY finished!

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I found this quilt over at KoJo Designs and knew that I had to recreate it for our bed.

{Kirstin and Jordan's Original Version}

I used white muslin @ $1.67/yd from Walmart totally $23.  Add in my $30 IKEA comforter I used for the batting and backing, I spent $53 total.

I made a few modifications - using muslin instead of Jersey Cotton {although that would be sooo comfy!}.  I only quilted the horizontal "ditches" since that held the quilt in place without it moving too much.  And my knots look like flowers instead of knots.

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Oh - and like the pillows?  I made them too!  The flower pillow is a bridesmaid dress hem scrap upcycle that I've shared before and I'll sharing how to make the Euro ruffle shams in the next week or so! {Edited to add: Gathered Euro Pillow is here!}

And this baby has been a labor of love :)  I've learned quite a bit while making this...about myself and about sewing.

What I learned

I am just a tad ADD.  I just don't have the attention span for long projects. 
{Hence the 5 months it took me to complete this}

That I LOVE sewing again.  Since I started this, my sewing machine has seen some major mileage.  I forgot how much I loved to sew.

That you really need to make sure EVERY pin is out before flipping right side out to complete this.  {Yep...found 2 pins I left in}

That I can do anything I put my mind to.  
{I may need a seam ripper or two and learn along the way, but I can do it!}

That it's good to double and triple reinforce the knots on this quilt.  I ripped two of the knots out {before I was done, Thank God!} and had to go back and add extra stitches to each one to make sure they didn't come apart after I was finished.

That I have to live a little.  And enjoy my quilt without stressing about my kids jumping on it or spilling on it.
{This has been tough!}

That I'm ready to try to tackle my first real quilt.
{You can expect to see it's reveal in maybe March 2012, LOL}

And I'm entering it into this challenge!

Visit thecsiproject.com



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Upcycled Ruffle Shorts

Did you see my post a few weeks ago over at Seamingly Smitten?


If not, check it out here!
 I wanted to create something that was easily duplicatedThat was practicalAnd easy.

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My daughter is a skinny minny.  She has no problem fitting into pants or shorts that she wore two years ago.  We'd never have to buy clothes if it weren't for her getting taller, LOL!  She's 4 in two weeks and these jeans 2Ts! For this project, I grabbed a pair of too short pants.
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It's hard to tell here, but these bad boys ride up about 4 inches when she sits down.  And yep, we didn't realize that until we were out somewhere this Spring.  I'm sure people thought, "Buy that girl some clothes that fit!"  Oh well...



While wearing them, I marked the desired length with a straight pin.  Then had her take them off carefully :) 
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I wanted a 1/2 inch hem, so I added 1 inch to the mark that I made.  You could totally use a fabric pen or something else to mark them, but I just measured and pinned all the way around to give me my cutting lines.

Now, chop those suckers off!  And keep your scraps!  You never know when you'll need to make a denim rosette.  Am I right?

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Now, turn them inside out and iron the cuff over 1/4 to 1/2 inch.  Then turn the cuff over another 1/2 inch and iron.

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Now sew!
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These are adorable as is.  But we all know that adding ruffles makes anything even cuter!

To create your ruffle, cut a strip of fabric 1.5 to 2 times as long as you would need to go around the leg.  Does that make sense?  This is not an exact science.  If your strip is shorter, your ruffle is less ruffly.  And if it's longer, it's more ruffly.

Now, zig zag stitch the edges of the ruffle to prevent fraying.  With your sewing machine on straight stitch, make your stitches as long as your machine goes.  Make sure not to back stitch at all!

Your strip will look like this.

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Now holding the back thread, pull the fabric up and make your fabric gather.  Pin to your shorts and sew it on.
{Make sure to change your stitch length back.  I always forget this step!}

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I hope you find her modeling pictures as humorous as I did.  I took like 25 pictures and this was all I got.  The others had arms all funky and her eyes closed {purposely, mind you}.

Here's what I love about this project:

1) Your shorts are the perfect length!  They aren't daisy dukes.  And they aren't Bermuda shorts either.  This is my hardest thing when shopping for shorts for me & Layne!

2) Match your ruffle to a top & you've got a custom outfit!  I made a simple Minnie Mouse Applique tee using the same fabric & now we've got a custom outfit for our Disney Trip in September!
{And I've already planned what day she will wear this.  And what they will wear every other day.  I'm just a little excited about our trip!  Can you tell?!?}